From the Firehouse: March 2021

From the Firehouse by Jack Halchak, Past Chief HFD

The Hurleyville Fire Department is always looking for help, to fight fire or support those that do. We even supply all of the gear and provide all of the training needed, for free. Stop by any Monday night and find out how you can help.
Nothing much has changed in the firehouse this past month. We are still closed to the general public and continue to respond to all calls.
This past month there were a few calls of note. One call resulted when a person threw hot wood stove ashes out and caused a structure fire. There have also been a number of CO (carbon monoxide) alarms.
Make sure that you are putting your wood ash into a metal container and storing them away from the house.
With amount of snow we are getting make sure that you vents are clear of snow.
There is another problem that fire departments are now encountering and that is that the snow piles are hiding your 911 numbers at the head of your driveway. Try to uncover them so that all emergencies services can find you. Unfortunately, the fire department can see the smoke and fire but we cannot see the CO alarm or the ambulance can’t see the medical alert alarm. If you do not have your 911 number posted PLEASE make plans to get one up as soon as the weather lets you.
As I write this month’s column it is snowing quite hard. But you know it will stop and start to melt at some point. With the frozen snowbanks it may be hard for the snow melt to get off of the road and it will create puddles (called ponding). Add in some rain and we can have some problems. Do not drive through these big puddles. You do not know what is under them; the road could be washed out.
This is the March column so I need to rant and rave about the “Burn Ban.” The Burn Ban dates are March 16 thru May 14. NO OPEN BURNING. Looking outside as I type this column not only is it snowing but we have two-plus feet of snow on the lawn and in the fields around my house. I promise you it will start to melt. So what happens is that we go from snow to mud and dry conditions. How quickly this happens is anyone’s guess. But rest assured that the brush fire season will be here soon. Spring rains can and will help melt the snow. So when you get on your lawn to take care of spring cleanup, DO NOT BURN your debris piles. All it takes is a gust of wind in dry conditions when the terrain has not yet greened up and we have a brush fire. So please: no burning of anything after you clean up your lawn!
With the snow storms and ice storms that we have been having, there have been some downed electric lines. NEVER, EVER touch any kind of downed wire. It may look like a phone wire or TV cable and appear to be dead, but do not know what is happening down the road. There could be a live electric line energizing the innocent looking phone line. Here are some safety tips if you encounter a down wire:
• If you see a downed power line, move away from it and anything touching it. Keep a distance of 35 feet, as the ground around downed power lines may be energized.
• Assume ALL downed power lines are live.
• If you see someone in direct or indirect contact with a downed line, DO NOT touch him/her. You could become energized as well. Call 911 for assistance.
• NEVER attempt to move a downed power line or anything else in contact with it using an object such as a broom or stick. Non-conductive materials like wood or cloth can conduct electricity if slightly wet.
• Don’t step in water near downed lines.
• Never drive over a downed power line.
• If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line while you’re in the vehicle, stay inside the car. Call 911 or honk your horn to get help, but tell those rendering aid to stay away from the vehicle.
• If you must exit the vehicle for life-threatening reasons — jump out and away from it, making sure to land with your feet together and touching. Then, shuffle away with your feet touching until you reach a safe distance. NEVER attempt to get back into a vehicle that is in contact with a power line.
Be safe out there.