As many in our community celebrate with decorations, candles and greenery in and around their homes, we want to offer some tips for keeping you and your loved ones safe.
With nights dipping into the 40s, it’s no wonder so many of us are grabbing more blankets, reaching for the thermostat and dusting off our space heaters.
A leading cause of home fires
Before you get too cozy, consider this: heaters are one of the leading causes of home fires. Now is a great time to survey each room with a heat source to look for potential fire hazards.
When you do, remember this rule of thumb: Baseboard heaters need one-foot of clearance and portable space heaters need three-feet of clearance. Give them space!
Safety tips for home heaters
- Never allow any item to drape across or be placed on top of a heater.
- Move away any furniture, bedding and other materials placed too close to baseboard and portable heaters.
- Make sure any portable heater is plugged directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord with a portable heater.
- Turn off a portable heater before leaving the room or going to sleep.
- When purchasing a heater, make sure it has been tested by an independent testing laboratory and features an automatic turn off if it tips over.
By keeping a watchful eye and giving heaters the space they require, it helps reduce the risk of a home fire. Now you can sit back and warmly (and safely) enjoy autumn’s beauty.
“Shut the door.”
These three words are increasingly seen as an important life safety and firefighting strategy.
Recent fire research shows that closed doors can reduce the spread of smoke, flames, high temperatures and toxic gases from a fire. Closing bedroom doors before going to sleep can give your family members precious time to find an alternative escape route or wait for rescue.
Fires can also start in a bedroom. That’s why it’s recommended to install a smoke alarm in every bedroom and the adjacent hallway. Having alarms in multiple areas will increase the chance of hearing the alarm and safely exiting.
Follow these tips to protect your family:
- Install smoke alarms in each bedroom and in the hallway outside
- Make and practice an escape plan (information here)
- Close your bedroom doors before you go to sleep, if you can
One other note: closed doors also limit the amount of oxygen a fire uses, thereby slowing its spread and potentially limiting property damage. It is recommended that – if you can do so safely – close the doors you pass through when evacuating a burning structure.
Free smoke alarms from Seattle Fire
Seattle Fire Department will install free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for qualified homeowners in City limits who are: residents of the city AND identify as a senior, or live on a low income or have a disability.
Seattle residents with a hearing impairment may qualify for a free strobe smoke alarm. Visit this webpage or call 206-386-1337 to learn more.
Saturday’s two-alarm fire at the Century Terrace Apartments in Queen Anne has been ruled accidental. Fire investigators from the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) today announced the fire was caused by combustible materials being placed too close to an electric baseboard heater in the living room.
Response becomes a two-alarm
The initial reports of a fire at 1000 1st Avenue West came in around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. SFD sent multiple units and found a fifth-floor apartment fully involved in flames.
The location of the apartment presented access challenges and a possible quick spread. After assessing the situation, incident commanders called for additional units, making this a two-alarm fire.
Seattle City Light cut off power to the involved unit and the four units directly below. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire. Thankfully, all occupants were initially evacuated and accounted for, and there were no injuries. The Red Cross provided assistance to four adults and one child.
Fire damage was heaviest to the fire unit and some of the roof. Several other units sustained mostly water damage.
At the height of the response, SFD had 32 response units and 92 firefighters on scene.
How you can prevent a similar fire
Did you know that heaters are one of the leading causes of home fires? Fire can start when furniture, bedding and other materials are placed too close to baseboard heaters and portable heaters.
Do not put anything close to any type of heater. Baseboard heaters need a one-foot clearance and portable space heaters need three feet of clearance.
This month is Fire Prevention Month, and we are sharing weekly safety tips. Be sure to check the Fireline weekly through October and follow us on social media.
Photo credit: Byron Hardinge
On Oct. 5, Mayor Durkan, City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Teresa Mosqueda joined with Seattle Fire Department personnel and family to pay tribute to the City’s firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
They gathered at Seattle’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial, located in Occidental Park. The memorial depicts four firefighters battling an imaginary blaze and is flanked by panels of stone, crisscrossed and laying down to represent collapsed walls.
The solemn ceremony began with the Fire Department’s Pipes & Drums corps playing and the Honor Guard presenting the colors. Chaplain Abigail Hodge offered the invocation, after which Fire Chief Harold Scoggins spoke about the annual commemoration and significance of certain aspects of the event.
City leaders also gave remarks, sharing personal reflections and connections to the fire fighting community. IAFF Local 27 President Kenny Stuart and IAFF Local 2898 President Tom Walsh spoke of the heroism and courage demonstrated by firefighters and their families. Assistant Chief A.D. Vickery then read the list of all Seattle’s fallen before bells tolled and the ceremony ended.
One of the memorial’s stone panels is inscribed with the names of 49 Seattle firefighters who died while responding or as the result of an illness associated with fire fighting. This list continues to grow as firefighters pass away and their deaths are determined to be in the line of duty.
Sadly, the list of names on the memorial grew with the addition of Captain Craig Aman. He died in March 2017 from a cancer linked to his career as a Seattle firefighter. Next year, the memorial list will include at least one more name: Marvin Larry. He died earlier this year and will be remembered next fall along with any other Seattle line of duty deaths that may still occur in 2018.
Captain Aman joined the Department in December 1990, serving on Ladder 9 and Ladder 5 before becoming a paramedic in 1994. He promoted to Lieutenant in 2010, then to Captain in 2016. As Captain, he served as the Special Events Coordinator and AMR liaison.
Before the ceremony closed with the playing of Amazing Grace, Fire Chief Scoggins and IAFF President Stuart presented a flag and offered private words to Captain Aman’s widow.
About the Memorial
Seattle’s annual memorial service is held the same weekend as the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial events in Emmitsburg, Maryland, at the National Fire Academy. Seattle Fire personnel whose death is determined in 2018 as in the “line of duty” will be memorialized next fall nationally and in Seattle. We welcome public attendance at the memorials.
Seattle – Look for Seattle Firefighters this week as they take to the streets to collect money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Fill-the-Boot campaign. Seattle Firefighters will be at these five locations to accept donations between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sept. 11, 12, 13 and 14:
- 15th Ave. NW and NW Market St.
- Rainier Ave. S. and S. Ferdinand St.
- Roosevelt Way NE and NE 50th St.
- California Ave. SW and SW Alaska St.
- 925 Alaskan Way (waterfront by Fire Station 5)
Want to donate but you don’t carry cash? You can write a check or go online to the MDA’s website and donate directly via this link.
The MDA is a major contributor to neuromuscular disease research, treatment and innovations in care for dozens of diseases, including muscular dystrophy and ALS. These diseases attack the muscular system, taking away physical strength, independence and ultimately shortening an individual’s lifespan.
The Local 27 Seattle Fire Fighters Union and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) have been partners for more than 60 years. Last year, the community contributed more than $20,000 in Local 27’s campaign to support the MDA. This year we hope to top that amount! We thank you for your support!
Congratulations to Seattle Fire’s newest paramedics. Eight Seattle firefighters graduated from the intensive nine-month Medic One Paramedic Training Program on July 28, 2018. These paramedics are now assigned to Seattle Fire medic units to provide advanced life support on emergency response calls. Including this graduating class, Seattle Fire now has more than 70 working paramedics.
During the ceremony, two Seattle Fire students were announced award recipients.
Kent Burden was selected as winner of this year’s Jack N. Richards Inspirational Award. The class selects the award winner from their peers.
Andrew Hewitt received the Mike Storbakken Airway Award, which recognizes the student who excelled in controlling patient airways (via intubation) on critical calls.
The graduating class also included students from seven other local fire departments and King County Emergency Medical Services. To see a list of those agencies, visit this page.
The training program is led by the University of Washington and considered one of the most rigorous paramedic training programs in the nation. Students take 2,500 hours of instruction (national recommendation is 1,100 hours) and average 700 patient contacts – three times the national average.
Paramedics trained through the University of Washington learn to provide physician-level care for cardiac arrest and other potentially life-threatening issues at an incident scene.
Having high levels of care available to patients prior to arriving at a hospital increases their chance for survival.
For example, an August 2018 report issued by King County Emergency Medical Services shows that 21 percent of cardiac patients treated by Seattle/King County emergency responders survived and were able to be discharged from the hospital (includes care provided by emergency medical technicians and paramedics). Nationally, that rate is at 11 percent.
These rates are also viewed as benchmarks for the quality of care provided by emergency responders in the field.
The Medic One Foundation fundraises to cover paramedic training costs for each class. We thank them for this incredible level of support, which ultimately benefits Seattle and King County.
To learn more about the paramedic training Seattle Fire personnel received, visit the University of Washington Paramedic Training website.
Media can email SFDPIO@seattle.gov to interview winners and hear firsthand about paramedic training.