Sunday, January 26, 2014
Raytown Fire Protection District
Family Dog a Hero During Early Morning Raytown Residence Fire
PIO Assigned: Matt Mace, Interim Fire Chief
Follow up Info: Matt Mace 816-875-9746
Location: 6701 Ralston
Time of the call: 02:16
First Unit on the scene: Raytown Pumper 51
Number of Units: 7
Number of Firefighters: 32
Property Loss/Damage: $165,000
Contents Loss: Unknown
A mother and her 13 year old daughter escaped injury at 2:16 this morning after the family dog awakened them to smoke and fire in their house. The residents escaped out a second floor window due to the heavy smoke and fire blocking the stairway. A neighbor awoken by their yells for help assisted them off the roof with a ladder before fire units arrived.
Upon arrival crews reported heavy fire and smoke showing and all occupants were out of the structure. The high winds complicated the extinguishment of the fire and at one point forced firefighters to withdrawal from the house and use aerial apparatus to knock down the fire from the exterior. It is believed that the fire originated around the area of the living room fireplace and spread throughout to the interior. The family did have working smoke alarms.
The family dog which alerted them was not able to escape and perished in the fire.
"The family was extremely lucky. First, their dog woke them, then the neighbor responding so quickly to rescue them from the roof." Interim Fire Chief Matt Mace
The American Red Cross assisted the family with housing, food, and counseling information.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
As the temperature turns colder the Raytown Fire Protection District sees an increase in the number of carbon monoxide related calls for service. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a odorless invisible gas produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. As the winter months come upon us, our use of fuel for heating increases, thereby increasing the potential for elevated levels of carbon monoxide.
Nationwide, hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning furnaces or appliances. Infants, elderly people, unborn babies, and people with anemia or with a history of heart or respiratory disease can be especially susceptible. Symptoms of CO poisoning may include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. Do not ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 911.
Techniques to reduce the risk of CO poisoning in your home when using fuel-burning devices include:
- Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating system (furnaces, flues, and chimneys) annually. Repair any leaks promptly.
- Install CO alarm(s) with battery backup outside of sleeping areas.
- Test your CO alarm(s) frequently and replace dead batteries.
- Do not use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
- Keep gas appliances properly adjusted.
- Install and use an exhaust fan vented to outdoors over gas stoves.
- Do not use any gasoline-powered engines, such as portable generators, in enclosed spaces, including your garage, and locate them at least 10 feet from your house with the exhaust facing away from the building.
- Do not idle your vehicle inside your garage.
- Do not sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
- Make certain that doors on all wood stoves fit tightly.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Ever wonder why firefighters climb onto the roof of a building while it is on fire?
They are normally up there to open up holes in the roof or upper-level windows, which could mean the difference between life and death for people trapped inside a structure.
“Ventilation is really critical,” said Raytown Battalion Chief Ben Denney, “To relieve the heat and smoke and gases from a building is important for occupants and firefighters.”
In order to prepare to ventilate under the most trying conditions, firefighters train in a variety of techniques, including tactics for opening the vents and crucial communication between incident commanders and firefighters on the roof and inside the building.
If an occupant is trapped inside a building, in some cases, firefighters may not wait until a vent has been opened before entering. But there is inherent danger in entering such a structure or room within it, because there is a possibility of explosive, deadly consequences, resulting from a backdraft or flashover.
In a backdraft, the introduction of oxygen to a closed room or building causes an explosion, when the oxygen ignites fuel gases, which were produced by the fire.
“The fire is starving for air, so when it gets the air, it suddenly accelerates the fire,” Denney explained.
The Raytown Fire Protection District is continually seeking a variety of locations and types of structures to prepare for all scenarios. A two-story building that formerly housed the Toys r Us on Hillcrest road presented firefighters with the opportunity to work on a spacious flat roof.
One of the challenges of venting a building is to cut a hole in the decking — normally about a 4-foot square — while avoiding damage to the rafters. If the rafters, which support the roof’s exterior, are inadvertently slashed, that could cause a disastrous roof collapse.
Firefighters will tap on the roof with axe heads or other tools to try to sound out where the rafters are, but that does not always yield information, especially if there are multiple layers of shingles or the fire scene is extremely noisy.
“There are several potential hazards associated with ventilation”, Interim Fire Chief Matt Mace stated “At the same time firefighters are on the roof, the roof supports could be rapidly deteriorating as a result of the fire.”
“You have to always be aware of the possibility of a roof collapsing,” Mace said.
Firefighters often try to vent at the highest possible point of a roof, because that is the best place to remove the smoke and heat from the structure. A high point on the roof often yields the advantage of providing a place to sit or stand more safely than on a slope. But being at a higher elevation increases the risk of injury in a fall.
Also, when the vent hole is opened, the smoke and fire rush toward the hole, which could possibly trap a firefighter.
A key to success in fighting a fire is coordinating the attack between the firefighters on the roof and those inside the building. The incident commander, normally a battalion chief, can relay information by radio such as what part of the building inside is ablaze, so the firefighters on the roof can know the best spot to vent.
“One of the first things to decide on a fire scene is where to vent,” said Ty Helphrey, captain of Raytown Engine 51. “The sooner we get it open, the better it is for us.”
It's that festive time of year again – time to string the lights, hang decorations, put up Christmas trees, and bring out the candles to celebrate the holidays. To keep the holiday season a merry one, the Raytown Fire Protection District has decorating safety tips.
No matter how you plan to celebrate the holidays, special care should be taken when decorating. Following these safety tips can help prevent holiday traditions from turning into tragedies.
Each year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,800 people for falls, cuts, shocks, and burns due to incidents involving faulty holiday lights, dried-out Christmas trees and other holiday decorations.
Christmas Tree Safety
Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in an average of 10 deaths, 40 injuries and about $7 million in property damage and loss. In addition, there are more than 15,000 candle-related fires each year, which result in 140 deaths and $307 million in property loss.
Consider an artificial tree (they are much safer and cleaner).
When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant". Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree is more resistant to burning.
When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
A real tree should not lose green needles when you tap it on the ground. Cut 1 inch off the trunk to help absorb water. Leave the tree outside until ready to decorate. The stand should hold at least 1 gal. of water. A 6' tree will use 1 gallon of water every two days. Mix a commercial preservative with the water. Check the water level every day. Secure the tree with wire to keep it from tipping. Keep tree away from floor heaters, fireplaces, or other heat sources.
Use only UL-listed lights, and no more than 3 strands linked together. Use miniature lights--which have cool-burning bulbs. Turn off the Christmas lights when you sleep, or if you leave your home for very long. Never use candles, even on artificial trees.
When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic, and do not block doorways.
Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or non-leaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
In homes with small children, take special care to avoid sharp or breakable decorations, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children who could swallow or inhale small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
Dispose of the tree properly.
NEVER BURN A REAL TREE IN THE FIREPLACE.
Use only outdoor rated Christmas lights outside your home.
Examine light strings each year, discard worn ones, fasten the bulbs securely and point the sockets down to avoid moisture build up.
Never use indoor extension cords outside and avoid overloading wall outlets with extension cords.
Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow.
Make sure trees hung with Christmas lights are not touching power lines.
When using candles, always place them a safe distance from combustibles. Extinguish candles prior to going to bed.
Dispose of fireplace ashes into a metal container until cold.
Install smoke detectors or new batteries in the one(s) you have and TEST them.
Install at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home.
Have an operable fire extinguisher readily available.