Chief’s Message Summer 2013

MESSAGE FROM FIRE CHIEF CZERNIAK

It seems that in writing these articles ahead of the actual time of reading, our Wisconsin weather just loves the opportunity to play with our minds and spirits.  Yesterday it was in the 80’s for the first time this year and today, in the 40’s while northern Wisconsin prepares for several inches of snow and we complete a cold and wet early spring.

Farmers have yet to plow or plant and spring is being considered – skipped.  That fits very well with our continued theme of preparedness as weather extremes and weather disasters seem always to be but a day away.

Rain storms with thunder and lightning first.  Outdoors heed the following: Look for shelter inside a home, large building or a hard topped vehicle right away.  Do not go under tall trees for shelter.  Stay away from windows and doors.  If you are in or on open water, go to land and seek shelter immediately.  If you feel your hair stand on end, that means lightning is about to strike.  Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground.  Do not lie flat on the ground.  This is only a last resort when a building or hard-topped vehicle is not available.

Indoor safety: Stay off corded phones, computers and other electronic equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity or plumbing.  Your kids will love this last tip: Avoid washing your hands, bathing, doing laundry or washing dishes.

Consider that outside and other fires account for 78% of the lightning fires reported to local fire departments.  Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles from any rainfall.

As to a second safety topic consider your summertime grilling.  There’s nothing like outdoor grilling.  It’s one of the most popular ways to cook food!  But, a grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard.  They can be very hot, causing burn injuries.

Consider that a grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.  Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill.  Never leave your grill unattended.  Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

Consider charcoal chimney starters.  They allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as fuel.  If you use starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid, not gasoline.  Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.  There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire.  Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.  When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

When using a propane grill, always check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.  If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department.  Do not move the grill.  If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15 minutes before re-lighting.

July is the peak month for grill fires.  Roughly half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns.

So with all the safety tips for weather and food prep, still squeeze in a fun filled summer enjoying Wisconsin at its best and remember – for life-threatening emergencies – dial 911, provide your information, listen to directions and we will come to offer the best service we can to prevent no additional injury and transport you to the hospital of necessity.  Should it be fire, we will do our best to prevent spread and stop it as quickly as possible.  With our questionable fires of late, please call law enforcement if you see anything suspicious.

Have a great summer!