Stillwater Fire District
|Stillwater Fire District - Arvin Hart Fire Company|
Photos compliments of Bob Eastman owner of Ground Aerial photo services 2013
Understanding Todayís Fire Environment
So far winter has been brutally cold. The weather has resulted in several fatal fires, many motor vehicle accidents and broken water pipes. To avoid being a fire victim make sure your smoke detectors are working, they are up to date, and you have an escape plan. Due to the speed at which materials burn today, getting out of the house as quickly as possible especially for the very young and the elderly is a priority. There is no place like home; itís a place to relax, share laughs with family and enjoy home cooked meals. But the majority of all fire deaths occur in the home! So far this year 11 New York State residents have died in single family home fires since the first of this year. Unfortunately family members who are very young or older family members who are slower and unable to react are at greater risk of being victims. If you havenít heard, the time to escape has dramatically dropped in the last decade due to lightweight construction materials and interior furnishings. The modern home or those that have been rehabbed is a spacious oasis filled with creature comforts with an open floor plan. We relax in overstuffed upholstered furniture and feel good that the home was made with construction practices friendly to the environment. What you canít see is how these components all play a part in creating home fires that burn faster and hotter due to the petroleum based plastic composition. Studies indicate that in a majority of home structure fires upholstered furniture stuffed with combustible polyurethane foam that burns quicker than ďlegacyĒ furnishings. These fires caused an annual average of 440 civilian fire deaths, 700 civilian injuries and $269 million in direct property damage. On the average one out of every 13 reported upholstered furniture fires resulted in a death. The problem in new homes isnít lightweight construction; the problem is what happens when lightweight construction is exposed to fire. Remember, the fire load burns faster and hotter! Lightweight construction uses "engineered lumber," a term generally used to describe a wood structural member that is fabricated through use of bonded fibers and materials and that is usually glued together as a composite joist or beam. Engineered lumber offers a great structural platform for the support of floor and roof assemblies and allows a builder to implement the long spans and open spaces that we are all looking for. The resulting problem is that residences are burning faster and hotter, the lightweight construction burning and disappears faster causing partial structural collapse which has injured or killed a number of firefighters. A modern pre-engineered floor truss exposed to fire will fail within 6 minutes. So what does this mean for the average resident? It means that itís important to practice fire prevention in the home, preventing a fire is the best option. But if you should have the misfortune of having a fire in the home you need to take immediate measures to escape. While your first line of defense is quick notification a smoke alarm will not get the Page 11 Shore Lines February 16, 2018 very young or those who have limited mobility out of the resident; that takes assistance and planning. Your prevention efforts need to include kitchen safety, electrical safety and storage safety measures. There needs to be an escape plan and each member of the family must know what to do and where to go without hesitation, there is NO TIME to hesitate. Those who are unable to get themselves out, need to be assisted Ė that takes valuable time. So keep those smoke detectors working and up to date. Just to indicate how little time you have, very often when a fire occurs it is preceded by a report of an explosion. That explosion is flashover occurring, when everything in a room or structure reaches ignition temperature all at once. When flashover occurs the temperature in the space is not humanly survivable. So in many cases, the fire department is not even called until flashover occurs which is when the fire is discovered. Itís already too late to affect a successful rescue. So whatís the answer? Itís never a simple one; practice fire prevention measures and inspections in your own home; install and maintain smoke detectors and realize that they have an end life Ė 10 years; as do carbon monoxide detectors -7 years; practice an escape plan and consider the very young and those who have limited mobility; do not under any circumstance re-enter the structure Ė only the folks on TV can do that, you will die!! You have heard this from me in the past; the best way to protect your family, your pets and your home is the installation of residential sprinklers. If you are building new or remodeling a large portion of your home residential sprinklers are installed on the plumbing system. They are easy for the average plumber to install, naturally they need to be insulated from the cold as any other water pipe, they donít fail and cause water damage and they only need to produce 14 gallons a minute to do the job. Thatís a lot less damage than a fire hose, and if the house is on fire itís already being damaged, a little water will douse the fire. As a society we are complacent to any emergency or disaster that may befall us, while we donít want to dwell on those things that might hurt us, we should consider the potential and be prepared and know how to respond, it will make your life less stressful when you know how to respond to adversity, no matter what it is. As a start, I challenge you to answer these questions: Do you test your smoke alarm monthly, how old are your smoke alarms and do you know that smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years? As firefighters we know that with todays fire environment itís very difficult to rescue someone due to the contents, construction and staffing limitations, you have to take the responsibility to save yourself and your family no matter where they are.
Know your Pump Hale Q Max Pump
Pump Operator Part 1
Stay Tuned Next Month
Regularly Scheduled Events:
Training -- Wednesday Nights beginning at 6:30 P.M. and Saturdays beginning at 8:00 A.M. with breakfast beginning at 7:30AM
Company Meetings -- 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7:30 P.M.
Board of Fire Commissioner's Meeting -- 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 P.M.
Firefighting isnít for everyone, volunteering is Ė there is more to do than what is shown here:
Download sign-up sheets and become a member! (Click both links below and fill out)
Attention District Residents: To make sure your county 911 information is correct, call Saratoga County Emergency Services at 884-4769 daily between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M.
Additional Training Resource Links:
New Developments in Fire Service
Get on Board with Fire Service
New Developments in Fire Service Training
Get on Board with Fire Service Updates Training
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