From the Firehouse: December 2021

From the Firehouse by Jack Halchak, Past Chief HFD
December, 2021

The Hurleyville Fire Department is always looking for help, to fight fire or to support those that do. We even supply all the gear and provide all the training needed for free. Stop by any Monday night and find out how you can help.
Fire calls are still up countywide. I have been to several dryer fires in recent weeks. Make sure that you clean the lint trap before each use and that you do not overload the dryer. Make sure the vent to the outside is clear of leaves, bees’ nests and, very soon, snow.
Last month during the heavy rains many, many roads were flooded. Why would you drive your car around cones, barricades and road closure signs? There were numerous rescues that took place because people did drive around cones, barricades and road closure signs. Not only did you put your life in danger but the lives of the firefighters that came out to save you were in danger, too. When a road is flooded you do not know if the road is still there or washed away. At times the water is so deep that it will stall your car and possibly sweep you away. It could float you into the stream or lake near the flooded section of road.
The holidays are right around the corner and I want you to be safe. Unfortunately, throughout my firematic career I have been on many calls concerning the following safety issues. I can say throughout the years I have been on a call every holiday that there is. I would like to stay home this season.
Cooking fires almost double on holidays and cause more property damage and severe injuries than home fires any other time of the year. Be smart and avoid these common causes of holiday kitchen fires and injuries.
• Leaving the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food – high temperatures and splattering fat are a terrible combination.
• Wearing loose sleeves around the stove, fireplace, or grill – fabric can easily ignite if it touches a heat source. Fabric that is accidentally brushed over food can pick up grease, which is highly flammable.
• Placing paper towels, napkins, placemats, towels, oven mitts, plastic bags, paper, or plastic or cardboard food packaging too near the stovetop, oven, grill, or any heat-generating appliance can cause a fire.
• Using a stove, oven, or grill that has a buildup of grease – grease fires are extremely dangerous and difficult for homeowners to get under control quickly if they do not know how to handle them.
• Working on a crowded surface – too little room can cause dishes and utensils to fall onto the stove or the floor, resulting in burns, cuts, and damage to stoves, countertops, floors, and appliances.
• Unsupervised children – children are curious and love to be involved in family events. Keep an eye on young children to help ensure they do not touch sharp or hot objects or electric cords or leave toys on the kitchen floor a hurrying adult could trip over.
• Non-working fire alarms – a smoke alarm is often the first thing to alert you that something is burning. Make sure yours are working before you begin your holiday preparations. A battery is a very small investment in your safety.
The worst may strike even if you take care, so be sure to have a fire extinguisher easily accessible and NEVER use water to extinguish a grease fire, as water will lead to spreading of a grease fire.
Let us look are a few other safe concerns during the holiday season.
Candle Safety-
• Make sure candles are held firmly in a fireproof holder on a fireproof surface
• Do not place them near curtains or other fabrics that can ignite
• NEVER leave a candle unattended
• Make sure they are out before going to bed or leaving the house
• Try using a batter operated one
Christmas Tree Safety-
• Pick a tree that fits the room
• Water your tree. A dry tree is a torch waiting for an ignition source
• Keep heating devices away from the tree
Decoration Safety –
• Most decorations are highly flammable. Keep them away from a heat source
• Do not let them block your way out of a room or your house
• Turn off or unplug decorations when going to bed or leaving the house
Wrapping Paper-
• Nerve put your wrapping paper in the wood stove or fireplace
• Dispose of it properly, recycle it if possible
If there should be fire in your home “Get Out and Stay Out” and Close the Door Behind You.

From my family to your family have a Healthy & Safe Holiday Season.
Merry Christmas & Happy & Safe New Year