Walla Walla Professional Firefighters
IAFF Local 404
  • October 17, 2017
  • Fire Safety Tips for the home.
     

    From the City of  Walla Walla Professional Firefighter- LOCAL 404.

    Chimney Fire Safety: Don't Blow Your Stack!!

    The heating season is soon upon us. Furnaces, fireplaces, woodstoves and space heater will be forged up anew. Energy conscious homeowners will restore old fireplaces and install new wood burners, calling into service chimneys that haven'' been used for years. All in all, the question is: how safe is your chimney?

    It's easy to forget about your chimney's condition-and its importance to the safety of your home. A chimney blockage can fill your home with deadly fumes…while a chimney fire, too, can spell disaster. Here's hoe to diagnose and treat common chimney problems before they lead to real trouble.

    If you haven't had your chimney inspected for several years, now's the time. Call in a professional chimney sweep (yes, they still exist; no the trade didn't go out with Mary Poppins) to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

    Why is chimney cleaning important? For starters, it's been unused all summer. Do you know that a family of birds hasn't built a nest on top of it, reducing or ruining its ventilating power? Do you know whether it's developed cracks or leaks that could reduce its draft while also posing a collapse? Of course you don't --and without an inspection your won't know until it's too late.

    It is true, that the whole idea of a chimney is to be fireproof, but among the many combustion by-products that go up your chimney are flammable substances called creosotes. Being relatively heavy and oily, they cool quickly and deposit on your chimney walls instead of going all the way up and out. As creosote layers build up what can be ignited by heat or sparks, leaving you with a fire raging in your chimney. Some people think that a chimney fire will just clean-out the creosote. If you share the same thought, you are risking much more than loud roaring fire. More likely to rain burning debris into your furnace or fireplace -or shower hot sparks all over the neighborhood - or set fire to roofs and walls adjacent to the super-heated chimney.

    You will want to take a couple of precautions before you use any heating source this season.

    • Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids to kindle or revive a fire-flammable vapors can easily travel the length of the of a room.
    • To keep sparks from flying and igniting clothes or furniture, use glass doors or a screen that wrap fully around the fireplace/woodstove opening. A fireproof hearth rug is also a good idea. Wear tight fitting clothing when working with the fire; avoid balloon or draping sleeves.
    • Keep children safely away from fireplaces, woodstoves, furnaces and space heaters.
    • Be sure ashes have cooled thoroughly before you dispose of them. Place ashes in a sealed metal container way form the house.
    • Annual service and maintenance is a must for woodstoves and fireplaces. Have ash and creosote build-up professionally removed, or do it yourself. Check the fireplace annually to be sure vents, flues and chimneys are in good working order, and to identify and structural damage.
    • It is also a good idea to have your furnace inspected and maintained on annually.

    How to Make a Great Escape Plan

    Print out these instructions
    to help you make your great escape plan!

    Fire can grow very quickly. When the smoke alarm sounds, you need to know exactly what to do -- and the best way to be prepared is to have a fire escape plan.

    Install at least one smoke alarm on each level of the home, and in or near each sleeping area. Remember to test the alarms every month by pushing the test button.

    Use "The Great Escape" family planning grid to draw a floor plan of your home, marking all windows and doors. Be sure to include every household member in the creation of the plan.

    Locate two escape routes from each room. The first way out would be the door, and the second way out could be a window.

    Make sure escape doors and windows can be opened easily from the inside (security bars must have quick-release devices on the inside). In a two-story home, plan your escape through a window onto an adjacent roof or porch. If you must use an escape ladder, be sure everyone knows how to secure it on a window sill (because descending a ladder presents a risk of falling, the National Fire Protection Association recommends climbing down an escape ladder only in an emergency, but not in practice situations).

    Choose a meeting place outside, a safe distance from the front of your home and mark it on the floor plan. A good meeting place would be a tree, telephone pole, mailbox or neighbor's home. In case of fire, everyone should gather at the meeting place. That way, you -- and the responding firefighters -- will know that everyone is out safely. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

     

    Escape Route

        

     align=justify>Make sure your home has large address numbers on the front, and also place an address sign at the top of long driveways.

     

    Let's Hear It For Fire Safety

    Test Your Detector!


    A working smoke detector cuts the risk of dying in a home fire by nearly 50%. Yet almost one-third of the smoke detectors installed in homes fail to operate when fire strikes because of worn or missing batteries. Protect your safety by checking your detector at least once a month.

    Mark Your Calendar


    Fun stickers or notes on your calendar are a handy way to remember this important task. Simply place one on your family's calendar each month, as a reminder to test your detector!

    Have a Battery Back-Up For Hard-Wired Smoke Detectors


    If your home has smoke detectors wired into the house's electrical system, they should also be tested monthly. And -- because you still need a working smoke detector when the power is out -- your house should have battery-operated units as well.


    Change the Batteries


    Change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year. Choose a date that is easy to remember, such as the day you change your clocks back in the fall. And, remember that the entire smoke detector must be replaced after ten years.

    Dust Your Detector


    Just as you can't smell when your nose is plugged, the smoke detector can't do its job when clogged with dust particles. Vacuum the face of your smoke detector at least once a year.

    Fireworks Safety!

    Like colored gold dust sparkling high in the sky, watching fireworks is a 4th of July tradition.

    Fireworks contain explosive materials and only experts should handle them. There are some fireworks available for public use called "consumer fireworks". These fireworks include cone fountains, cylindrical fountains, roman candles, skyrockets, firecrackers, mines and shells, helicopter-type rockets, certain sparklers and revolving wheels. Stay away from anything that isn't clearly labeled with the name of the item, the manufacturer's name and instructions for proper use. Even these products should be used with caution and always with adult supervision.

    Firework rockets work in a similar fashion to military rockets. A fuse ignites a combustible substance, which forms gases that jet out propelling the rocket upwards. Once the rocket is high in the sky, a second combustible substance explodes. The explosion releases firecrackers (causing the bang) and the colored sparkles.

    Many different substances go into making fireworks. Coloring agents include: lithium for red, sodium for gold and yellow, copper to help create blue, barium for the green (it also help stabilize volatile elements). Titanium and iron help produce sparks and sulfur helps to fuel fireworks.

    Remember, in the City of Walla Walla, fireworks may be sold only from July 1 - July 3 from 9am to 11pm. 

    Use of Fireworks is allowed only on July 4 from 9am until 12am on July 5.

    The following kinds of fireworks are restricted in the City of Walla Walla;

    • Any firework specifically designed to produce a loud noise such as whistles, explosions or reports
    • Any firework device not defined as a nonaerial common firework

      To help you celebrate safely this Fourth of July, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Council on Fireworks Safety, and the City of Walla Walla offer the following safety tips:

      • Always read and follow label directions
      • Have an adult present
      • Buy from reliable fireworks sellers
      • Ignite outdoors
      • Have water handy
      • Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
      • Light one at a time
      • Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
      • Never give fireworks to small children
      • Store in a cool, dry place
      • Dispose of properly
      • Never throw fireworks at another person
      • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
      • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass container

     


    Jan 27, 2007

    What Is Carbon Monoxide?

    Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is generated through incomplete combustion of fuel such as natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, and charcoal, gasoline or wood.

    This incomplete combustion can occur in a variety of home appliances. The major cause of high levels of carbon monoxide in the home is faulty ventilation of furnaces, hot water heaters, fireplaces, cooking stoves, grills and kerosene heaters.  Other common sources are car exhausts, and gas or diesel powered portable machines.

    Faulty or improper ventilation of natural gas and fuel oil furnaces during the cold winter months accounts for most carbon monoxide poisoning cases.  Correct operation of any fuel burning equipment requires two key conditions. There must be:
    * An adequate supply of air for complete combustion.
    * Proper ventilation of fuel burning appliances through the chimney, vents or duct to the outside.

    How Carbon Monoxide Affects The Body

    Hundreds of people die each year, and thousands more require medical treatment, because of carbon monoxide poisoning in their home. The human body depends on oxygen for the burning of fuel (food) to provide the energy that allows cells to live and function. Oxygen makes up approximately 21% of the atmosphere, and enters the lungs during breathing. In the lungs it combines with a blood component called hemoglobin. When saturated with oxygen, it is called oxyhemoglobin.

    After being carried by the bloodstream to the cells of the body, oxyhemoglobin releases oxygen to the body tissues. Carbon monoxide is dangerous because it bonds much more tightly to the hemoglobin than does oxygen. Once hemoglobin combines with carbon monoxide to form carboxyhemoglobin, its ability to combine with oxygen is completely lost.

    As more carboxyhemoglobin is formed, the amount of oxygen carried to the cells and organs in the body decreases. Carbon monoxide starves the blood of oxygen, literally causing the body to suffocate from the inside out. When the carboxyhemoglobin concentration reaches a certain level, people get nauseous, become unconscious, and ultimately die. How quickly symptoms appear depends upon the concentration, or parts per million (ppm) of carbon monoxide in the air and the duration of exposure. A person's size, age and general health are also factors in how quickly effects of the gas will become evident.

    Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

    Carbon monoxide poisoning is often confused with the flu. Children with carbon monoxide poisoning have mistakenly been treated for indigestion.  It is important that you discuss with all family members the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Different carbon monoxide concentrations and exposure times cause different symptoms.

    EXTREME EXPOSURE: Unconsciousness, convulsions, cardio respiratory failure, and death

    MEDIUM EXPOSURE: Severe throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion, vomiting, and fast heart rate

    MILD EXPOSURE: Slight headache, nausea, fatigue (often described as 'flu-like' symptoms)

    For most people, mild symptoms generally will be felt after several hours of exposure of 100 ppm's of carbon monoxide.

    Many reported cases of carbon monoxide poisoning indicate that while victims are aware they are not well, they become so disoriented that they are unable to save themselves by either exiting the building or calling for assistance.  Infants and children are especially vulnerable to carbon monoxide due to their high metabolic rates. Because children use more oxygen faster than adults do, deadly carbon monoxide gas accumulates in their bodies faster and can interfere with oxygen supply to vital organs such as the brain and the heart.  If left unchecked, a child's exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to neurological disorders, memory loss, personality changes and mild to severe forms of brain damage.

    Different Types Of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

    As with smoke detectors, consumers should avoid any brand that does not bear the mark of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and/or Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada. You should consider ease of installation, the location of installation and the power source of an alarm when choosing a plug-in, battery powered or hardwire model. Battery Backup-some plug-in carbon monoxide alarm models have a back-up power source that allows the unit to function in the event of a main line power failure. During a power outage, people are likely to use alternate sources of power, light and heat (e.g. kerosene heaters, gas-powered portable generators and fireplaces) which may be out of tune and may produce deadly carbon monoxide gas.

    There are three main types of technology utilized in carbon monoxide detectors today: Chem-optical, Electrochemical, and Semiconductor.

    Chem-optical technology alarms are also known as gel cell or biomimetic technology alarms. These alarms utilize a type of sensor that mimics the response of hemoglobin, in the blood, to carbon monoxide. Alarms using this kind of sensor are usually battery powered. One main drawback that remains is that the sensor can non-reversibly accumulate carbon monoxide and other contaminants over time, which can eventually lead to false and/or nuisance alarms. Some chem-optical (gel cell) alarms on the market today contain an expensive replacement battery and/or sensor, which must be replaced periodically.

    Electrochemical technology alarms are usually battery powered and are much more complex than semiconductor. Platinum, as a catalyst, and acid, as an electrolyte, break down carbon monoxide gas and release electrons, which induce a small current and activate the alarm. This type of sensor is very accurate in its initial calibrated state, but is susceptible to contamination and swaying from its original set point over time and exposure. The technology is very expensive to manufacture and will typically have a limited lifetime of about 2-5 years. Some manufacturers' models will require its battery and/or sensor to be changed periodically. Other manufacturers' models have sealed housing that requires the entire unit to be discarded once the battery power supply is depleted.

    Semiconductor sensors are mechanically simple and are electronic in nature; therefore they have a long life (typically 10 years) and are very reliable. Current designs demonstrate excellent immunity to other gases that may be present. Semiconductor sensors utilize a controlled quantity of tin dioxide as a sensing element. The sensing material is heated by a small electric heating element and carbon monoxide gas is catalytically broken down at the surface of the sensing element. Electrons are released in this process and are absorbed by the sensing element. This increase in charged particles lowers the resistance of the sensor. In an alarm using semiconductor sensors, electronics are used to measure the sensor resistance and from this to calculate the carbon monoxide concentration.

    What To Do In The Event Of An Alarm

    You should consult their owner's manual for a carbon monoxide alarm procedure. However, the following is a general procedure:

    If a carbon monoxide alarm sounds a low level warning or hazard level alarm, you should leave your home immediately and call their local emergency service or 911 for help. The Fire Service has the proper protective equipment and gas meters to properly verify the alarm.  A head count should be taken to check that all persons are accounted for once outside in the fresh air. You should not re-enter the home until it has been checked by the Fire Service and aired out.  Once the source of the problem has been identified the appliance in question should be turned off and not used until the problem has been corrected by a qualified technician or utility company.

    Where To Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

    Since oxygen and carbon monoxide are approximately the same density, they mix equally well in air. Therefore most alarms measuring carbon monoxide can be placed anywhere in a room.  Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen anywhere and at any time in your home. However, most carbon monoxide poisoning cases occur while people are sleeping.  For that reason it is recommended that you install at least one carbon monoxide alarm with an audible alarm near the sleeping areas. Install additional alarms on every level, especially where you have appliances capable of producing carbon monoxide, to provide maximum protection.

    REMEMBER - CARBON MONOXIDE IS DEADLY
    EARLY WARNING COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE

     


    Jan 27, 2007

    Chimney Fire Safety: Don't Blow Your Stack!!

    The heating season is soon upon us. Furnaces, fireplaces, woodstoves and space heater will be forged up anew. Energy conscious homeowners will restore old fireplaces and install new wood burners, calling into service chimneys that haven'' been used for years. All in all, the question is: how safe is your chimney?

    It's easy to forget about your chimney's condition-and its importance to the safety of your home. A chimney blockage can fill your home with deadly fumes?while a chimney fire, too, can spell disaster. Here's hoe to diagnose and treat common chimney problems before they lead to real trouble.

    If you haven't had your chimney inspected for several years, now's the time. Call in a professional chimney sweep (yes, they still exist; no the trade didn't go out with Mary Poppins) to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

    Why is chimney cleaning important? For starters, it's been unused all summer. Do you know that a family of birds hasn't built a nest on top of it, reducing or ruining its ventilating power? Do you know whether it's developed cracks or leaks that could reduce its draft while also posing a collapse? Of course you don't --and without an inspection your won't know until it's too late.

    It is true, that the whole idea of a chimney is to be fireproof, but among the many combustion by-products that go up your chimney are flammable substances called creosotes. Being relatively heavy and oily, they cool quickly and deposit on your chimney walls instead of going all the way up and out. As creosote layers build up what can be ignited by heat or sparks, leaving you with a fire raging in your chimney. Some people think that a chimney fire will just clean-out the creosote. If you share the same thought, you are risking much more than loud roaring fire. More likely to rain burning debris into your furnace or fireplace -or shower hot sparks all over the neighborhood - or set fire to roofs and walls adjacent to the super-heated chimney.

    You will want to take a couple of precautions before you use any heating source this season.

    • Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids to kindle or revive a fire-flammable vapors can easily travel the length of the of a room.
    • To keep sparks from flying and igniting clothes or furniture, use glass doors or a screen that wrap fully around the fireplace/woodstove opening. A fireproof hearth rug is also a good idea. Wear tight fitting clothing when working with the fire; avoid balloon or draping sleeves.
    • Keep children safely away from fireplaces, woodstoves, furnaces and space heaters.
    • Be sure ashes have cooled thoroughly before you dispose of them. Place ashes in a sealed metal container way form the house.
    • Annual service and maintenance is a must for woodstoves and fireplaces. Have ash and creosote build-up professionally removed, or do it yourself. Check the fireplace annually to be sure vents, flues and chimneys are in good working order, and to identify and structural damage.
    • It is also a good idea to have your furnace inspected and maintained on annually.

    How to Make a Great Escape Plan

    Print out these instructions
    to help you make your great escape plan!

    Fire can grow very quickly. When the smoke alarm sounds, you need to know exactly what to do -- and the best way to be prepared is to have a fire escape plan.

    Install at least one smoke alarm on each level of the home, and in or near each sleeping area. Remember to test the alarms every month by pushing the test button.

    Use "The Great Escape" family planning grid to draw a floor plan of your home, marking all windows and doors. Be sure to include every household member in the creation of the plan.

    Locate two escape routes from each room. The first way out would be the door, and the second way out could be a window.

    Make sure escape doors and windows can be opened easily from the inside (security bars must have quick-release devices on the inside). In a two-story home, plan your escape through a window onto an adjacent roof or porch. If you must use an escape ladder, be sure everyone knows how to secure it on a window sill (because descending a ladder presents a risk of falling, the National Fire Protection Association recommends climbing down an escape ladder only in an emergency, but not in practice situations).

    Choose a meeting place outside, a safe distance from the front of your home and mark it on the floor plan. A good meeting place would be a tree, telephone pole, mailbox or neighbor's home. In case of fire, everyone should gather at the meeting place. That way, you -- and the responding firefighters -- will know that everyone is out safely. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

     

    Make sure your home has large address numbers on the front, and also place an address sign at the top of long driveways.

     

    Test Your Detector!


    A working smoke detector cuts the risk of dying in a home fire by nearly 50%. Yet almost one-third of the smoke detectors installed in homes fail to operate when fire strikes because of worn or missing batteries. Protect your safety by checking your detector at least once a month.

    Mark Your Calendar


    Fun stickers or notes on your calendar are a handy way to remember this important task. Simply place one on your family's calendar each month, as a reminder to test your detector!

    Have a Battery Back-Up For Hard-Wired Smoke Detectors


    If your home has smoke detectors wired into the house's electrical system, they should also be tested monthly. And -- because you still need a working smoke detector when the power is out -- your house should have battery-operated units as well.


    Change the Batteries


    Change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year. Choose a date that is easy to remember, such as the day you change your clocks back in the fall. And, remember that the entire smoke detector must be replaced after ten years.

    Dust Your Detector


    Just as you can't smell when your nose is plugged, the smoke detector can't do its job when clogged with dust particles. Vacuum the face of your smoke detector at least once a year.

    Fireworks Safety!

    Like colored gold dust sparkling high in the sky, watching fireworks is a 4th of July tradition.

    Fireworks contain explosive materials and only experts should handle them. There are some fireworks available for public use called "consumer fireworks". These fireworks include cone fountains, cylindrical fountains, roman candles, skyrockets, firecrackers, mines and shells, helicopter-type rockets, certain sparklers and revolving wheels. Stay away from anything that isn't clearly labeled with the name of the item, the manufacturer's name and instructions for proper use. Even these products should be used with caution and always with adult supervision.

    Firework rockets work in a similar fashion to military rockets. A fuse ignites a combustible substance, which forms gases that jet out propelling the rocket upwards. Once the rocket is high in the sky, a second combustible substance explodes. The explosion releases firecrackers (causing the bang) and the colored sparkles.

    Many different substances go into making fireworks. Coloring agents include: lithium for red, sodium for gold and yellow, copper to help create blue, barium for the green (it also help stabilize volatile elements). Titanium and iron help produce sparks and sulfur helps to fuel fireworks.

    Remember, in the City of Walla Walla, fireworks may be sold only from July 1 - July 3 from 9am to 11pm. 

    Use of Fireworks is allowed only on July 4 from 9am until 12am on July 5.

    The following kinds of fireworks are restricted in the City of Walla Walla;

    • Any firework specifically designed to produce a loud noise such as whistles, explosions or reports
    • Any firework device not defined as a nonaerial common firework

    To help you celebrate safely this Fourth of July, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Council on Fireworks Safety, and the City of Walla Walla offer the following safety tips:

      • Always read and follow label directions
      • Have an adult present
      • Buy from reliable fireworks sellers
      • Ignite outdoors
      • Have water handy
      • Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
      • Light one at a time
      • Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
      • Never give fireworks to small children
      • Store in a cool, dry place
      • Dispose of properly
      • Never throw fireworks at another person
      • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
      • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass container

     

     


    Jan 27, 2007

    Fire Facts

    The U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates in the industrialized world. For 1997, the U.S. fire death rate was 15.2 deaths per million population.

    Between 1993 and 1997, an average of 4,500 Americans lost their lives and another 26,500 were injured annually as the result of fire.

    About 100 firefighters are killed each year in duty-related incidents.

    Each year, fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined.

    Fire is the third leading cause of accidental death in the home; at least 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in residences.

    About 2 million fires are reported each year. Many others go unreported, causing additional injuries and property loss.

    Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.5 billion annually.


    Where Fires Occur

    There were 1,795,000 fires in the United States in 1997. Of these:

                   40% were Outside Fires
                   31% were Structure Fires
                   22% were Vehicle Fires
                    7 % were fires of other types

    Residential fires represent 23 percent of all fires and 74 percent of structure fires.

    Fires in the home most often start in the:

                    Kitchen 29%
                    Bedroom 13%
                    Living Room 7%
                    Chimney 5%
                    Laundry Area 4%

    The South and Northeast share the highest fire death rate per-capita with 17.5 civilian deaths per million population.

    84 percent of all fatalities occur in the home. Of those, approximately 80 percent occur in single-family homes and duplexes.


    Causes of Fires and Fire Deaths

    Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. It is also the leading cause of fire injuries. Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves or ovens.

    Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. Smoke alarms and smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents.

    Heating is the second leading cause of residential fires and ties with arson as the second leading cause of fire deaths. However, heating fires are a larger problem in single family homes than in apartments. Unlike apartments, the heating systems in single family homes are often not professionally maintained.

    Arson is the third leading cause of residential fires and the second leading cause of residential fire deaths. In commercial properties, arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries, and dollar loss.


    Who is Most at Risk

    Senior citizens and children under the age of five have the greatest risk of fire death.

    The fire death risk among seniors is more than double the average population.

    The fire death risk for children under age five is nearly double the risk of the average population.

    Children under the age of ten accounted for an estimated 18 percent of all fire deaths in 1995.

    Over 30 percent of the fires that kill young children are started by children playing with fire.

    Men die or are injured in fires twice as often as women.


    What Saves Lives

    A working smoke alarm dramatically increases a person's chance of surviving a fire.

    Approximately 90 percent of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm. However, these alarms are not always properly maintained and as a result might not work in an emergency. There has been a disturbing increase over the last ten years in the number of fires that occur in homes with non-functioning alarms.

    It is estimated that over 40 percent of residential fires and three-fifths of residential fatalities occur in homes with no smoke alarms.

    Residential sprinklers have become more cost effective for homes. Currently, few homes are protected by them.

    Facts provided by the United States Fire Administration

     


    Dec 13, 2015

    Dec 13, 2015



    Page Last Updated: Jan 27, 2007 (22:27:44)
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