Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Water Safety at Shute Park

Hillsboro Fire and Rescue is proud to participate with Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Department's Summer Outpost program at Shute Park. The program provides activities, games and education along with a light lunch for local children. They served over 400 kids today who came out to play. About 65 of those kids and parents gatherd around as Hillsboro Firefighters talked about water safety.

Firefighter and Swift Water Rescue Technician Brent Wellington talked about safety tips at the pool as well as at the ocean, lakes or rivers. The key messages were children should learn to swim and should always be supervised when near or in the water. Any children not able to swim should wear a personal floatation device(PFD) when near or in the water.

Lieutenant Jason Blount, a resue boat operator showed the kids the equipment carried on HFD's Rescue Boat-1. The equipment includes a throw ring, a bag full of rope for thowing to a person in distress, and the dry suits that rescuers wear when in the chilly Oregon rivers and lakes.

HFD has already responed to at least two water rescue calls this season. In one incident, a six year old child was saved by the quick application of CPR by a bystander. We hope you play safely when on, near or on the water.

Hot Weather Ahead

From Hot Weather

When the mercury approaches 90-degrees in Oregon, many people call it blazing hot! If you came from the South, that may sound silly. But, for those of us who are acclimated to Oregon's mild temperatures, a 90-degree+ day brings along some hazards that you should be considering when planning outdoor activities.

1. You can't do as much in the heat as you do in the cooler temperatures. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of cool (not cold) water to keep yourself hydrated. Heat exhaustion is the result of too much exertion during high temperatures. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are:
Muscle cramps

Usually, people experience symptoms of heat exhaustion before exhibiting signs of a heat stroke. But, not always. Symptoms of heat stroke may appear rapidly or slowly. A heat stroke is a true medical emergency. You should call 9-1-1 immediately if you suspect a heat stroke. Left untreated, heat stroke can be fatal. Symptoms include:
High body temperature
The absence of sweating with hot red or flushed dry skin
Rapid pulse
Difficulty breathing
Strange behavior

Get the patient to a shady area and remove clothing.
Cool the patient as soon as possible. Spray the patient with water and fan to promote evaporation on the skin.
Place ice bags under the arm pits and groin.

Avoid strenuous exercise or work during the heat of the day.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Take frequent breaks.
Wear a hat when in the sun.
Wear light weight, light colored clothing.

The populations who most at risk of heat exhaustion and stroke are:
Elderly (especially those with chronic diseases)
Outdoor workers

2. The second issue during hot weather is FIRE. Several successive days of high temperatures and low humidity dry out the fuels, such as grasses and brush. The rising temperatures put the fuels closer to their ignition point.

Please be careful with fire. If you plan to camp, follow safety rules regarding care and extinguishment of campfires. Use your ashtray not the roadway for discarded smoking materials. Remember what "Smokey" says, "Only you can prevent forest fires."

Keep it Legal and Safe on the 4th!

As you plan your 4th of July Holiday, remember that Oregon law restricts the type of fireworks that are legal to possess and use. Illegal fireworks are those that fly, explode or shoot projectiles. They include but are not limited to M-80s, cherry bombs, bottle rockets, Roman cancles and firecrackers. Legal fireworks are descirbed as snakes, sparklers, fountains and spinning ground wheels.

Parents, there are three things you should be aware of at this time of year:
1. Adults should be the only ones handling fireworks. What your child does with fireworks can financially impact you! If another person is injured or property damage occurs, you can be held financially liable for damages. Your homeowners insurance may not provide coverage if you or your children knowingly used illegal fireworks that result in personal injury or property damage.

2. You face the loss of the illegal fireworks through confication if you are caught by law enforcement offciers using illegal fireworks. Additionally, you face a fine of up to $500 for use and/or possession of illegal fireworks. Fireworks that have been modified or homemade come under the classification of "manufacture of an explosive device" and you can be charged with a felony for doing so.

3. And finally, from a role model perspective, participating in or condoning your children's use of illegal fireworks sends a message to the young that it is okay to select which laws are okay to break.

Please be a good role model this year. Have a safe holiday and enjoy only Oregon legal fireworks! For national statistics on fireworks injuries and more, visit:
The FEMA website on Fireworks.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This Is Never A Good Sight!

Jean Lane Fire

It's a missing smoke alarm. The Rojas family is lucky to be alive today after 24-year old Thomas Junior awoke to find smoke in his home at 1943 SW Jean Lane. He roused his wife, two small children, father and brother and all escaped unharmed. The fire, confined to the master bathroom of their three-bedroom ranch home, did about $40,000 in damage. The younger Rojas tried to extinguish the flames with a garden hose, which helped keep the flames in check until Hillsboro Firefighters arrived shortly before 3:00 am Tuesday morning, June 23rd. They quickly doused the flames.

The family's smoke alarm had begun chirping, indicating it had a dead battery. They removed the alarm, intending to replace it, thinking that nothing was going to happen in the interim.

The cause of the fire is believed to be the exhaust fan in the bathroom. Here are the safety tips for the day:

* Never go to bed without working smoke alarms.
* If your exhaust fan has begun getting louder, it should be checked or replaced by a qualified electrical contractor.

If you are worried about what type of alarm to buy, ionization or photoelectric, consider an alarm with both types in a single unit. There is more on that at the US Fire Administration web site.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Training Burn

On Thursday, June 18th, Hillsboro Firefighters conducted a training burn at 26180 NW Evergreen Road. The drills are part of live fire training all firefighters are required to have annually. Training officers set fires in several donated construction site office trailers to provide firefighters with experience in understanding fire behavior and practice tactics in dealing with mobile home fires which build and spread rapidly. Later, firefighters dealt with practice burns in a shop building on the property and capped off the day with training five new volunteer firefighters in the four bedroom, 1950s vintage home on the property.

While firefighters practice in putting out fires, you would be wise in using this reminder to practice your home escape plan with your whole family. Sit down tonight and sketch out the footprint of your home showing the doors and windows as the two ways out of every room. Select a meeting place outside where everyone should gather once out of the house. It should be at the front of the home so you're ready to tell arriving firefighters whether anyone is missing. Plan to call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's phone or your cell phone.

Then actually conduct a fire drill in your home by pressing the test button on your smoke alarm and having everyone exit to your meeting place. See if you can improve your exit times from one drill to the next. Have at least one drill per year at night.

For more information on fire and life safety issues, visit www.ci.hillsboro.or.us/fire.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June is Home Safety Month - Is Your Family Safe?

June is Home Safety Month and the Home Safety Council has just completed revamping its web site to include more information, safety checklists, videos and more. After school is out and before you leave for vacation is a good time to have the whole family look around your house for hazards. From falls to fires, for babies to seniors, spend a few minutes ensuring your home is safe. Visit the Home Safety Council website at www.homesafetycouncil.org.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

National Lightning Awareness Week June 21-27


June 21 through the 27th is Lightning Awareness Week. While booming thunderstorms are relatively rare here in the Hillsboro area compared with the Midwest, you may be traveling to the mountains or to Eastern Oregon and experience some of nature's fireworks. Just remember, lightning injures hundreds every year and kills dozens of people across the country. For lightning safety tips, visit the National Oceanic and Asmospheric Administration web site.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Honoring a Life-Saver

Hillsboro Fire Department recognized Tonya Stewart at City Council meeting Tuesday, June 18, 2009, for her life-saving application of Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Ms. Stewart was among a group of about 20 people enjoying the swimming pool at her apartment on May 22nd. She was sunbathing on the pool deck when she realized that pool occupants had begun screaming that a boy was drowning.

Moments earlier, a 6-year boy had jumped into the pool. When he surfaced, another swimmer accidentally bumped the child causing him to hit his head agains the pool edge. When fellow swimmers noticed him again, he was floating motionless in the pool. Bystanders quickly pulled the child from the water.

Ms. Stewart, 33, drawing on her C-P-R training from a previous job in the healthcare industry, quickly applied C-P-R while another bystander called 9-1-1. She continued the process until Hillsboro Firefighter/Paramedics and Metro West Ambulance medics arrived. By that time, the child had begun breathing on his own and had regained consciousness.

For her swift action in applying C-P-R, Hillsboro Fire Department Operations Chief Greg Nelson, representing all public safety personnel who responded, presented a certificate of recognition to Ms. Stewart.

"We are proud to have such comptetent and selfless citizens here in Hillsboro," said Operations Chief Nelson. "We can look to Ms. Stewart for inspiration to always be prepared to help someone in need."

Hillsboro Firefighters to Conduct Practice House Burn

Hillsboro Firefighters, both paid and volunteer, will be conducting a series of training burns throughout the day on Thursday, June 18, 2009, at 26180 NW Evergreen Road. The series of burns will provide paid firefighters an opportunity to practice fighting fires. The first series of burns will be conducted in donated office trailers, also known as job shacks, provided by Skanska Corporation. Trainers will set small controlled burns in portions of these mobile offices and firefighting teams will be sent inside to extinguish the flames. These burns will be conducted from 8:30 am until about 1:00 pm. As training at each trailer is completed, firefighters will allow the trailer to completely burn in order to demolish the structure. The training is part of annual live-fire requirements of all firefighters.

From about 6:30 pm until 9:00 pm, Hillsboro Volunteer Firefighters will conduct training burns in a donated residence at the same address. The training is similar to that conducted in the earlier evolutions. However, these firefighters are approaching the end of their recruit academy or initial training. Until this time, the Volunteer Recruit Academy has provided recruits with classroom and hands-on fundamentals of all aspects of emergency medical response, rescue, and firefighting. These sessions will provide them with their first experience in fighting live fire in a relatively safe and controlled environment.

The donated structure burns provide the practical experience for firefighters that cannot be replicated in drill towers or other simulators. Firefighters must be able to enter a strange building that has active fire with dense smoke often down to the floor level. They must be able to locate the seat of the fire, extinguish the flames, monitor their air supply, communicate with the incident commander and maintain awareness of their team member locations as well as situational awareness for other hazards.

These drills serve as a reminder for all area residents to create and practice a fire escape plan for their home. The escape plan should include:

o Having working smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas.
o Knowing two ways out of every room
o Having a meeting place outside, preferably in front of the residence
o Calling 9-1-1 from the meeting place or a neighbor’s home

For more fire and life safety information, visit: www.ci.hillsboro.or.us/fire or call 503-681-6166.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Golf Tourney Benefits Two Charities

Avid golfers from around the state pulled out their best shots Wednesday at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation/Hillsboro Firefighters Random Acts of Kindness Charity Golf Tournament. The best ball scramble contest drew 20 teams to the beautiful Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha. The event is sponsored by numerous local businesses and raises money for the two charitable organizations.

The winning foursome of Gunia, Godfrey, Miller and Benson took home some great prizes. Second place went to T. Seidel, Rizzo, Hill and Anzellotti. And, third place went to the foursome of Chief Gary Seidel with teammates Sparks, McCown and Krupf.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation was created to honor firefighters fallen in the line of duty and to assist their families and coworkers. The Hillsboro Random Acts of Kindness program was created by dedicated firefighters and employees from the City of Hillsboro who truly believe that they can make a difference in our community in ways besides their emergency responses. They seek to plant positive seeds in our neighborhoods to the benefit of the whole community. Their aim is simple - to help fellow firefighters and city employees give something extra back to the communities they live in and care for.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Final Wildfire Exercises

Hillsboro Firefighters are completing their third week of wildfire drills to prepare for the upcoming season. This week's final drill built on the previous week's training by using the sandbox tactical decisions made in the prior week's drill and actually visiting the locations where they made choices to deploy resources.

Firefighters must perform structural triage when dealing with wildfires in the wildland/urban interface(WUI). WUI is where developed areas meet forests or fields. That means a team of firefighters must assess each home's defensability. They look for clear access to the home, a minimum of 30-feet of non-combustible vegetation or low, green grass between the home and any wildfire fuels, and the type of construction of the home.

The evaluators have a relatively simple formula to follow to decide whether to commit an engine company to defend that home or to not risk their lives because the home cannot be defended safely.

For more information on how to ensure your home is as safe as can be from wildfire, visit www.firewise.org.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Esplanade Safety Event

Hillsboro firefighters are proud of their equipment and Saturday’s Safety Day event at the Sunset Esplanade, sponsored by KUIK Radio, was a great opportunity for crews to show the public the tools they use to fight fire. Hundreds of children and parents toured Engine 103 and Truck 3 and chatted with our public education team. Firefighters and the safety team communicated the importance of fire safety in the home and distributed materials that focus on two major aspects of home fire safety, working smoke alarms and home escape planning.

Each year thousands of people die in home fires. Four out of every five of those people die in their own homes. When fire breaks out, the key to your survival is immediate escape. Your life and the lives of your family depend on whether you know how to escape from fire. The majority of fatal home fires strike at night while you are asleep. You need working smoke alarms to wake you AND an escape plan so everyone in your home knows how to get out alive!

Safety Steps:
Make sure smoke alarms are installed on every level of the home and that they work. Test smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test buttons. Smoke alarms alert people to fire; families still need to develop and practice home fire escape plans so that they can get out quickly.

Get everybody together and draw a simple floor plan of your home. Plan two ways out of each room. The first way out should be the door and the second way out could be another door or window. Make sure doors and windows can be opened easily.

In a two-story building, plan your secondary escape through a window. If you plan to use an escape ladder, make sure everybody knows how to use it.

Choose a special meeting place for all family members outside the home and mark it on the floor plan. A meeting place should be something that always stays in the same place, such as a tree, telephone pole, or a neighbor’s house.

Have a home fire drill at least twice a year – once at night. Have everybody in the home practice using their second way out as well as their primary route.

For more information on fire and life safety tips, visit www.ci.hillsboro.or.us/fire

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wildland Water Operations

Wildland firefighting differs in many ways, but the most obvious is that rural areas often don't have water hydrants to provide firefighters with ample water. As a result, they must shuttle water in with water tenders from the nearest hydrant; draft water from ponds, rivers, lakes or swimming pools; or a combination of both.

Hillsboro Firefighters this week worked on the second phase of their refresher for fighting wildland fires--providing an adequate water supply. They drilled at the Washington County Fairgrounds on shuttling water to a location, nursing a pumper from a water tender, and drafting from a portable water tank. In addition, they practiced using a floating pump designed to pump from a pool, pond or river into small diameter hose lines for fire attack.

You can help firefighters defend your home in the event of a wildfire in the wildland urban interface. On flat land, clear brush and dried vegetation at least 30-feet from your home. On a slope, you should clear the downhill side at least 100 feet. Additionally, remove overhanging tree branches from around your home. For more on wildland fire preparations, visit www.firewise.org

Monday, June 1, 2009

Novelty Lighter Ban Goes Into Effect June 2nd

For those who missed the legislative process, Oregon now has a ban on the sale of novelty lighters. Those are lighters that look or act like a toy, replicate the tools of adults such as cell phones, or provide music or sound effects that make it appealing to children under age 10. Each of the items pictured above is a novelty lighter and there are hundreds of others in differing types and shapes.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal has notified all retailers and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has notified all liquor retailers to remove all such lighters from their inventory. Retailers face a $500 a day fine for a violation, wholesalers face $1,000 day fine and manufacturers and importers face up to $10,000 in fines for violating the new law.

For more information on the ban on novelty lighters visit the Oregon State Fire Marshal's web site.

Cutting Through Concrete and Steel

While we don’t have the frequency of earthquakes that California has, Oregon does have an occasional tremor. That’s hardly enough to keep the topic in our awareness. However, it should be. Experts predict there is a significant chance of a major subduction zone earthquake in an area off the Oregon coast within the next 50 years. Their prediction is for a magnitude 9.0 earthquake lasting four minutes with devastating results. There would be hundreds, possibly thousands, of buildings destroyed in such an event.

To prepare for such a possibility, Hillsboro Fire Department has trained Technical Rescue Technicians who specialize in Search and Rescue techniques in building collapse scenarios. These firefighters regularly practice the use of their heavy duty cutting tools to ensure readiness should the need arise. One recent drill involved the use of specialized hydraulic-powered chain saws, circular saws and jack hammers. Each tool is designed to allow firefighters to quickly cut through collapsed concrete and metal structures to reach patients trapped inside.

These drills are designed to refresh skills for veterans and provide rookie firefighters with the opportunity to train with this specialized equipment.
In case your memory has faded or you are too young to remember, it was in 1989 that California experienced a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that became known as the Loma Prieta Earthquake. And in 1994, the Northridge quake occurred. Both killed dozens of people.

If you are asking, what you should do to be prepared for a devastating earthquake, here is a basic list:

1. Create an emergency kit for your home that contains food, water, first aid kit, necessary medicines, and other essentials so that you can live independently without utilities for at least 5 to 7 days.
2. Create a family communications plan.
3. In the event of an earthquake:
a. First, remain where you are and “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”
b. Prepare for aftershocks.