News from Sublette County Unified Fire
December 31, 2014
As of their last meeting on Tuesday, December 30th, all of the six volunteer fire companies in Sublette County voted to reorganize and form a new consolidated entity. The newly created organization will be known as Sublette County Unified Fire, which was officially created by the Board of County Commissioners at their last meeting in December. The new entity will still have the six battalions, but they are all now operating together in an effort to share resources, manpower, and equipment.
The new Sublette County Fire Chief/Warden is Shad Cooper. The Deputy County Fire Warden is John Ball. The Fire Investigator/ Information Officer is Joe Sampson. The Training Officer is Ben Franklin. The Fire Prevention Officer is Willis Day. The former individual fire departments in Pinedale, Big Piney/Marbleton, Bondurant, Boulder, Daniel and Kendall Valley will now be known as fire battalions and will work together to provide fire protection in their respective communities.
Sublette County Unified Fire is still dispatched through the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office. If you ever have a fire emergency, call 911. Remember that depending on your location and service provider, your cell phone may not connect your 911 call to the local Sheriff’s Office. If you reach a more distant 911 emergency center, be sure to make your location clear so they can expedite the response to your emergency situation.
Shad Cooper stated, "The newly formed organization will greatly improve our efficiency, allow us to provide better customer service, and enhance the safety of our firefighters. It is important that we are able share resources and help each other out when an emergency occurs." Cooper further explained, "With the recent cold weather, we have seen a significant increase in structure fires and carbon monoxide alarms related to home heating issues. It is extremely important to be prepared for winter weather and the increased workload on home heating systems."
The following safety messages are important reminders to help protect your families and your homes.
Change the battery in your smoke alarm
Daylight Savings time change in the fall is a good date reminder to change the battery in your smoke detectors as winter and the holidays shut people in. While most homes have smoke alarms, many are estimated to have dead or missing batteries. This simple step of replacing the battery may save your home or your life. If you haven’t changed out the batteries in the smoke alarms in your home yet this year, we highly recommend you put this on your New Year’s to-do list.
Get a Carbon Monoxide detector for your home
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a silent killer. It is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas that comes from the incomplete combustion of various fuels including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO. Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness. High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including mental confusion, vomiting, loss of muscular coordination, loss of consciousness, and ultimately death. Because the symptoms of prolonged, low-level carbon monoxide poisoning "mimic" the symptoms of common winter ailments (headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and even seasonal depression), many cases are not detected until permanent, subtle damage to the brain, heart and other organs and tissues has occurred. Install a CO alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home. Make sure the alarm cannot be covered up by furniture or draperies. Have your home heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 911 or the Sheriff’s Office dispatch. Sublette County Unified Fire is happy to come out and do a CO inspection of your home. It’s free. Call if you have any concern about possible CO in your home, better safe than sorry
Chimney and oil flue safety
Chimneys carry off toxic gases from a fireplace, wood or pellet stove, furnace or boiler. They create the draft (flow of air) that provides the proper air and fuel mixture for efficient operation of the heating appliance. It is important to make sure chimneys and oil flues are inspected annually to make sure they are clean and operating correctly and are properly sized for the appliance in use. With use and over time, deposits of soot and creosote may build up on the interior wall of the chimney liner. The amount of soot depends on how well-tuned the burning appliance is and whether the house provides sufficient air for combustion. Excessive soot can cause chimney fires, flue deterioration, or chimney blockages that direct toxic fumes back into the house. Have chimneys inspected each year, preferably before your burning season starts. Always be careful around stoves and fires when in use, and keep stove doors closed when operating. Always supervise children around any fire source. If you do experience a chimney fire, first get everyone out of the house and call 9-1-1. If possible, try to cut off as much air supply to the chimney as possible, since fire feeds on oxygen. If you have time to grab a fire extinguisher and can safely use it before the fire department arrives, that may help. If you can safely get to a garden hose and wet down the roof before help arrives, that can also help keep hot embers from catching the roof on fire.
Make sure generators are properly wired for your home or business, and don’t connect a generator directly to your home’s main fuse box or circuit breaker panel without having a properly installed transfer switch. This will protect equipment and prevent a backfeed hazard for the public and the utility line crews. Don’t operate a portable generator inside your home or garage. Always properly ventilate a portable generator. Gasoline-powered generators produce carbon monoxide and the fumes can be deadly. As an added protection, ensure that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are installed and working properly.
Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation. They create dangerous fumes. Also, don’t ever burn charcoal in your house or garage. Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions when using portable heating devices and make sure the heating device is Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listed and approved.
Thawing frozen water pipes
If a water pipe freezes, the American Red Cross recommends to apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
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