U.S. Congress designated Oct. 28, as National First Responders Day to honor the firefighters, paramedics, police officers, EMTs and all those who are first on the scene in emergency situations. We thank all of our firefighters and paramedics along with the partnering agencies we work with to help people in emergencies. #NationalFirstRespondersDay #HereToServe
October is Fire Prevention Month and the Seattle Fire Department is publishing weekly tips on their Fireline Blog and social media to inform and promote fire safety. Fall signals the beginning of cold, rainy weather and shorter days which prompts Seattle residents to close their windows, wear warmer clothes and dust off their portable heaters. As a result, Seattle Fire wants to ensure everyone’s safety — starting in the kitchen.
Most home fires start in the kitchen when a person starts cooking and forgets about the food on the stove. It is easy to get distracted by a person, a phone call or an electronic device. A fire can start in seconds.
How to be safe:
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking with oil or grease
- Always use a timer when cooking to remind you that the stove is on
- Keep the stove area clean
- Keep a lid near the stove in case of fire
- Never pour water on a grease or oil fire
- The best way to put out a small pan fire is to slide a lid over the pot or pan.
- Turn the burner off
- Do not try to move a burning pan.
- Remove the lid only after the fire is out and cooled off.
Being prepared for any emergency is as simple as planning ahead and putting together an emergency kit does not have to be difficult or expensive. Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management recommends that your kit has enough supplies to last you seven to 10 days. It’s also good to have a smaller to-go kit in case you need to quickly leave your home. Having kits at work and in your car is also a good idea.
To get you started, here are five things that are absolutely necessary to have in an emergency kit.
- 1 gallon per person per day
- 1/2 for drinking, 1/2 for cooking/sanitation
- Store food that’s high in calories and has a long shelf-life
- Consider meal replacement bars, canned foods and dry food items that don’t need to be cooked to eat
- Make sure to include food you like to eat
- Avoid candles to minimize fire risk
- Include safe light options like a battery-powered flashlight with extra batteries or a hand-crank flashlight
- Light sticks are a long-lasting source of light that are inexpensive and fits easily into any size bag
Warm & Dry Clothes
- Include at least one change of clothing
- If you get wet, it’s important that you get dry as soon as possible because moisture pulls heat away from your body (wool or synthetic clothing that wicks moisture away from your body is recommended)
- To stay warm and dry you can also pack extra blankets, a tarp or rain gear
First Aid Kit
- Include items for basic care like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, scissors, tweezers and pain-relief medication
- Make sure to include medications and equipment specific to your needs
After the five basics, what you stock in your kit is up to you. The information below will give you a number of things you can add to your kit and some fun and easy ways to put them together, not only for your home, but your car, workplace and school. The most important thing is to start. Don’t be one of the people who after the disaster says, “I wish I had put a kit together.”
Take These Actions:
- Check out Seattle OEM’s preparedness website to customize supplies to your own family’s needs.
- Download the infographic of essential supplies.
- Watch FEMA video: Kit contents during COVID19.
In response to COVID-19, the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) is temporarily closed, but our annual Fire Day event will now be available ONLINE! In addition, for the first time we will be live streaming events in Spanish!
Tune into our Facebook Page at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26!
Fire Day starts off with a Story Time sessions with our Fire Chief followed opportunities to ask the Fire Chief as well as the firefighters at Station 39. Then, families can watch tours of a fire engine, station and see firefighters donning their bunking gear. Stay tuned at 11:30 a.m. as we will feature a demonstration by Search and Rescue Dog, Cannon, and his handler, Firefighter Jason Kent. The event will wrap up with a Day in the Life Q&A session with Lt. Amina Bakke and Firefighter Leo Castaneda.
This year’s theme: Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.
After the tragedies of September 11, 2001, the Department of Homeland Security designated September as National Preparedness Month. The month serves as a reminder to think about what to do before disasters strike. While so much of 2020 has been unpredictable, the importance of making a plan with loved ones and knowing what to do has never been more critical.
How you receive and exchange information is a key part of your family’s emergency plan. Take a few moments to talk with your loved ones about how you will stay in touch, especially when regular systems go down. Texting is still the way to go during disasters, but a good back-up is to carry a hard copy of important phone numbers with you. Also, think about a back-up power supply and how to keep your devices charged to stay connected.
New for 2020:
The Seattle Office of Emergency Management has created an easy way to receive emergency notifications. Simply text “Seattle” to 67283 to opt-in on real-time emergency messaging like major incidents and what areas to avoid.
In the coming weeks, we’ll share more tips and resources to help you stay safe, stay well and stay prepared.
Oils commonly used in oil-based paints, stains and varnishes release heat as they dry. A pile of oily rags can be dangerous because as they dry, the heat is trapped and builds up to potentially cause a fire.
Here are a few safety tips for storing wet, oily rags:
- Never leave cleaning rags in a pile. At the end of the day, take the rags outside to dry.
- Hang the rags outside or spread them on the ground. Weigh them down. Do this so they do not blow away. Make sure they are not in a pile. Keep them away from buildings.
- Put dried rags in a metal container. Make sure the cover is tight. Fill the container with a water and detergent solution. This will break down the oils.
- Keep containers of oily rags in a cool place. Keep them out of direct sunlight. Keep them away from other heat sources. Check with your town for information on disposing of them.
Vapors from flammable and combustible liquids can also ignite, causing a fire. Many commonly used flammable liquids include gasoline, lacquers and nail polish while common combustible liquids include paint thinner, oil-based paints and stains.
Safety tips for storing flammable or combustible liquids:
- Flammable and combustible liquids should not be used near an open flame. Do not smoke when working with these liquids.
- If you spill liquids on your clothing, remove your clothing and place it outside to dry. Once dry, clothing can be laundered.
- Keep liquids in their original containers. Keep them tightly capped or sealed. Never store the liquids in glass containers.
- Use gasoline only as motor fuel. Never use it as a cleaner. Never use it to break down grease. Never bring gasoline indoors, even in small amounts.
- Store gasoline ONLY in a container that is sold for that purpose. Make sure the container is tightly capped when not in use. NEVER store gasoline containers in a basement or in the occupied space of a building. Keep them in an outbuilding, a detached garage, or a shed outdoors.
Sunday, August 9: Sadly, we had two water responses that evening that did not have a good outcome. Just after 5:30 p.m., we received reports of an adult male who was swimming and went under near the 5000 block of Lake Washington Blvd. S. Divers, rescue swimmers and response boats conducted a search about 400 feet from shore. Unfortunately the person was not found by our crews and the scene was turned over to the Seattle Police Department.
The second incident happened at 8:40 p.m. when we received reports of an adult female in her 20’s that went missing in the water near Seward Park. Our crews coordinated with Seattle Police to deploy divers, rescue swimmers and response boats to search the water. Crews searched for over an hour, but we were unable to locate her. Both incidents were turned over to the Seattle Police Department and their latest update was posted here.
Yesterday was an unfortunate reminder that drownings can happen when you least expect it. We encourage you to practice boating safety and to be aware whenever you are near or in water.
Here are a few boating safety tips:
- Wear a life jacket — Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket when boating, tubing, rafting, swimming or other activities in or on lakes, rivers, salt water, or pools without a lifeguard. Life jacket information for children and teens.
- Know the risks — Washington waters are often cold enough to cause muscles to not work, even on the hottest summer day. Cold water can weaken even the strongest swimmer.
- Supervise children in or near water — Always provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water. Stay within touching distance of young children at all times.
- Learn to swim, including water safety and survival skills — To enjoy the water safely, learn swim strokes, water safety, survival skills, and becoming comfortable in the water.
- Do not use alcohol or drugs during water activities — Never use alcohol or other impairing drugs during water and boating activities or while supervising children around the water. Alcohol affects balance, coordination, and judgement. Exposure to sun and heat worsen these effects.
- Learn first aid and CPR — Learn first aid and CPR. Seconds count—the more quickly lifesaving CPR is started, the better the chances of recovery. Dial 911 in an emergency.
It is important for boaters to be familiar with the Regulations of Recreational Vessel operation. More information is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/boating. Boater education can increase safety on the waterways.
Today, we celebrated the promotions of six lieutenants (three not present), two captains and one battalion chief at our Joint Training Facility. In compliance with social distancing guidelines, we held a live stream for families and colleagues to join in the celebration. Congratulations!
Annual Mishap Causes Anguish for Families
This year, as we live through the stress and momentous change of an historic global pandemic, summer’s warm, sunny days gives us a chance to physically and emotionally lighten up. It’s the perfect time to spend time in the sunshine – albeit with sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and now socially distanced and masked! But even so, there’s no better time to get outside and fully enjoy ourselves with friends and family.
One thing to keep in mind is while the rays of summer feel good, the buildup of heat in an enclosed car, even when parked for a short time, creates dangers to small humans and pets.
The Numbers are Grim
According to Safe Kids Worldwide:
- On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car.
- A car can heat up 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help.
- Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.
The numbers are even more frightening for child vehicular heatstroke death as cited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Each case below ended with the death of a child and the planning of a funeral:
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2019: 52
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2018: 53
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2017: 43
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2016: 39
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2015: 25
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2014: 32
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2013: 44
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2012: 35
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2011: 33
Prevention: Remember to ACT
Thankfully, Safe Kids recommends several things people can do to avoid these tragedies.
Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute, and not even with the windows down or partway down. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.
Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure something essential to you – your phone, briefcase, purse, even a shoe – in the backseat when traveling with your child.
Take action. Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the call. Be sure all occupants, including sleeping babies and pets, leave the vehicle.
Technology Helps: Look for the Rear Seat Reminder
In the past few years, car companies have started implemented a new safety feature to help prevent these kinds of heat-related injuries. By 2025, it’s expected to be standard equipment. It’s called the Rear Seat Reminder. Here’s how it works:
Rear Seat Reminder monitors a vehicle’s rear doors. The system activates when either rear door is opened and closed up to 10 minutes before the vehicle is started or while the vehicle is running. Once the system is activated, the vehicle is designed to sound five chimes and display a message in the driver information center that reads “Rear Seat Reminder / Look in Rear Seat” the next time the vehicle is turned off. Some systems may even send you a text message.
Next time you’re in the market for a new or pre-owned vehicle, be sure to ask about this great safety development.
Finally, if you see a child alone in a car, call 911. We want you to call. We need emergency responders to get there as soon as possible. Every minute counts. The difference can save a life and prevent a family from suffering the loss of beloved child or pet.
SEATTLE – On July 25 at 12 p.m., the City of Seattle Office of Emergency Management will send a test message through the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. The alert will only be sent to those who have opted in to receive local test messages through WEA and to a small geographic area under and near the West Seattle Bridge. The message will state: “This is a test of Wireless Emergency Alerts by the City of Seattle. No action is required.”
The national WEA system is an essential part of the City’s emergency preparedness and response. This public safety system allows customers who own compatible devices to receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area. The most common example of these alerts is the “Amber Alerts” sent by Washington State Patrol that directly ping mobile phones.
This is the second test to be conducted as a part of the West Seattle Bridge planning. The first test was conducted on June 26. Though not predicted, the City has emergency plans in place to use the WEA and AlertSeattle systems among other methods to notify people under or near the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge in the event of an immediate collapse.
This test is not linked to any specific action or report related to the condition of the West Seattle Bridge. The test is part of our proactive contingency planning to prepare for unanticipated changes in the bridge that may require an evacuation of community members on Harbor Island.
The City has successfully used the WEA system several times in 2020, though it’s important to test the geographical capabilities of the system to ensure the correct area is targeted. Twenty volunteers from Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management Auxiliary Communication Services will stage in locations on and surrounding Harbor Island during the test to confirm receipt of the message. Results will be collected by Seattle OEM to determine the reach of the system.
Mobile phone users who are in the geographical area and would like to receive the test message must take steps to enable the option on their phone.
The capability of a phone to receive local test messages depends on the brand and model, as well as phone carrier. Review the instruction manual for the phone for information on how to enable this feature. Basic information for Apple and Android Phones is below:
- To turn it on: Enter *5005*25371# and tap the green phone icon . You’ll get an alert that says “Test alerts enabled.”
- To turn it off: Enter *5005*25370# and tap the green phone icon. You’ll get an alert that says “Test alerts disabled.”
- Go to “Settings” > “Apps and Notifications” > “Advanced” > “Wireless Emergency Alerts” and then switch “State/local test” option to ON.
Members of the public are encouraged to proactively sign-up for AlertSeattle to receive emergency notifications from the City of Seattle: alert.seattle.gov.
For questions about the WEA test:
Seattle Office of Emergency Management
For questions about Seattle Fire’s role in West Seattle Bridge emergency planning:
Sr. Communications Manager/PIO
Seattle Fire Department