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
As with so many things this year, celebrating a holiday like Halloween during a global pandemic can still be done. It just takes on a different look and feel to keep everyone safe.
In addition to our Fire Safety tips above, consider these 2020 tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to keep your ghouls, goblins, sports stars and superheroes from getting unnecessarily exposed to COVID-19, which would be the scariest fright of all.
Virtual Costume Parties & Parades
Host a video chat for an online party where friends and family can show off their costumes and play games.
Spooky Movie Night
Celebrate with a movie night and dress as your favorite characters. Do this as a family at home or watch with friends while video chatting, with everyone starting the movie at the same time.
Have your child draw a face on a pumpkin with markers, then have an adult do the cutting. Take care to take small strokes and direct the blade away from yourself and others. Consider using a pumpkin saw and avoid large blades that can become lodged in the pumpkin. Place a battery-operated candle or glow stick inside.
Check out Sparky’s Halloween pumpkin template to learn other carving tips.
- Bake and decorate Halloween cupcakes as a family.
- Decorate a pizza with toppings in the shape of a jack-o’-lantern.
- Make tangerine pumpkins by peeling a tangerine and sticking a thin slice of celery on top as a stem.
If You Do Go Trick-or-Treating …
- Look for an outdoor venue or event, but stay away from crowds and avoid clusters of people.
- Keep a supply of hand sanitizer with you.
- Use a cloth face mask as part of your costume, but avoid paint as that can be toxic.
- Sweep wet leaves from sidewalks and steps.
- Check outdoor lights and replace burnt-out bulbs.
- Remove any trip hazards such as garden hoses, toys, bikes or other lawn decorations on the front porch or yard.
- Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump or bite an unsuspecting trick-or-treater.
Have a Safe and Happy Howl-a-Ween Everyone!
Pop quiz: You’re home sleeping in bed at night. Suddenly, the smoke alarm sounds, abruptly waking you from a sound sleep. What do you do?
a. Put the pillow over your head to drown out the noise.
b. Roll over and go back to sleep.
c. Curse and mutter about yet another disrupted night’s sleep
d. Get up, check your home or apartment for fire, alert others of the problem, and get everyone out quickly if you discover fire.
The answer is obvious, no?
Early warning of impending danger makes all the difference in saving the lives of your family should fire erupt in the middle of the night. With fire known to spread and double in size in just minutes, time is of the essence. A smoke alarm, better yet, a hardwired, integrated system of combo smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms throughout your home or apartment, is something you can’t afford to be without.
During these pandemic days, with many of us spending more time at home, maintaining a working smoke alarm has never been more important. Even the most vigilant among us cannot stay awake 24 hours a day. We need something we can depend on.
Check your home for the following:
• We have smoke or smoke/CO alarms installed on every level of the house.
• Our smoke alarms are hardwired and inter-connected; if one goes off, they all do.
• Our smoke alarms are placed at or near ceiling-level, in hallways, bedrooms and other main living areas.
• We test our alarms regularly and change the batteries at least annually.
• We keep our alarms clear of dust, spider webs and insects by vacuuming them.
• Everyone in our household recognizes the sound of the alarms and knows how to escape quickly in the event of fire.
Think of a smoke alarm as your “nose at night,” staying on guard while you sleep. That should bring peace of mind and help ensure a restful night, knowing your home is protected.
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.
To say 2020 has been a year like no other is an understatement. The pandemic still persists, local businesses are struggling, and so much of our lives remain disrupted.
With the onset of a new school year and most families still largely at home, parents have more to juggle than ever. With so many distractions at hand, don’t let basic safety take a back seat, especially when it comes to matches and lighters in your home.
Supervision, good role modeling, and proper match and lighter storage are some of the best things a parent can do to prevent a child-set fire. Treating matches and lighters with the same respect you give other dangerous tools around the house – knives, hammers, sharp appliances – also goes a long way.
Take a moment to consider the following.
Myth or Reality?
- It is normal for children to play with fire.
- If you burn a child’s hand, they will stop.
- Firesetting is a phase the child will grow out of.
- Youth firesetters are obsessed with fire.
Maybe not surprisingly, these are all myths. Let’s counter each one:
- Fact: Curiosity about fire is common, playing with fire is not.
- Fact: If you burn a child’s hand, you only create fear and scars. The reason behind fire use must be discovered and addressed.
- Fact: Firesetting in children is not a phase. It is a dangerous behavior. You cannot afford to wait for fire behavior to change. It only takes one match to cause serious injury or death.
- Fact: Very few children are obsessed with fire or would be considered “pyromaniacs.” There is almost always a reason behind the behavior.
If you experience a child-set fire, the Seattle Fire Department can help. Trained interventionists can meet with you and your child to talk about any incidents and provide educational resources to help prevent firesetting from continuing.
Keeping your family safe and well through these uncertain times is critical – please let us know if we can help.
Knowing your family is prepared will help maintain peace of mind during a disaster. Take time to have a conversation together and talk about what each family member can do to keep themselves safe. Let your child know there may be time or communication delays when emergencies happen. Make sure everyone know and can access important contact numbers for key family members.
Take These Actions:
1. Watch video with your family: “When the Earth Shakes.”
- Find earthquake “safe spots” in your own home. Look for places away from windows, under sturdy desks or tables, in corners or against supporting columns.
- Practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On” with your children and loved ones.
- Play interactive games like “Disaster Master” and “Build a Kit.”
2. Create an emergency communications plan for the whole family. Review important numbers and how to send text messages in case of an emergency.
3. Know the emergency plan for your child’s school and childcare facility.
- What has changed in light of COVID-19?
- Review and practice the plan with your child.
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.
Brush, bark and dry grass fires keep firefighters busy during the summer months. Unfortunately, the Seattle Fire Department has responded to over 12 brush and bark-related fires within the past two days. In more rural parts of King County, the high number of brush fires has led the King County Fire Marshal to issue a burn ban on all outdoor recreational fires effective immediately.
The Seattle Fire Department strongly encourages community members to avoid outdoor burning and to take extra precautions with smoking materials during this time.
How to prevent dry weather-related fires:
- Do not light fireworks.
- Dispose of smoking materials in proper receptacles and douse in water, not in planters, beauty bark or out of your vehicle window. Make sure proper cigarette disposal canisters are available in areas where smoking is allowed.
- Be sure chains and other metal parts are not dragging from your vehicle as they can throw sparks. Check your tire pressure – driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks.
- Be careful driving through or parking on dry grass as hot exhaust pipes can lead to fires.
- Be aware that sparks from lawn mowers can start fires – avoid mowing when it is dry or windy.
- Remove long grass, weeds or anything that can burn from around homes. This includes limbs that touch buildings or hang near the roof.
- Remove dead plants or bushes as soon as possible and clear roof and gutters of pine needles and leaves.
- Move trash, recycling, and yard waste bins away from the home.
- Avoid down power lines.
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.