Catalog Request

fire

  • Hot Heat Fuels Dozens of Fires

    It’s simple. In the western United States, heat begets fire. As of June 26, 27 large fires are burning in 10 states. The worst situation is in California, where years of drought and tree death combined with temperatures above 100 degrees have contributed to six large fires. Here’s a look at some of the fires and some things we can learn from them.

     

    Active Fire Map June 27, 2016 - via someone

     

     Erskine (Calif.)

    “It was a firestorm,” one evacuee from the fire in South Lake, Calif., told the Los Angeles Times in an elementary school/evacuation center. He didn’t know if his house was still standing.

    The fire blasted into existence the afternoon of June 23. Fed by a 40 mph wind, temperatures above 90 degrees and bone-dry grass, it traveled 11 miles in 13 hours.

    It burned through power and phone lines, knocking out both landline and cell phone service. Sheriff deputies, going door-to-door to warn residents, had to run from the fire. A couple died trying to escape. Three firefighters were injured.

    So far, more than 225 buildings and almost 60 square miles have burned. Another 2,500 homes are still threatened and six communities evacuated. The fire is only 10 percent contained, and evacuees may not return home because of fears wind shifts could send the fire in different directions.

    When it comes to fire, be prepared to run for it. Have go-bags packed and in an accessible place.

    An evacuee, Magan Weid, told the Los Angeles Times, “Everything was flying into your eyes. I didn’t have time to get glasses. I literally just grabbed a bag with miscellaneous crap. I didn’t have time to get anything together.”

    Include prescription medicines and copies of prescriptions. One evacuee worried because she and her husband left without his heart medication.

    “I don’t know where to go,” she told the Los Angeles Times.

    Have copies of vital records. In her haste, one woman left behind her Social Security card and birth certificate. All she had were her pajamas and contents of her car.

    Keep a full tank of gas. One man said he and his neighbors created a mini traffic jam in their haste to leave. Another jumped into his car only to discover its tank was low. Fortunately, he made it out.

     

    Reservoir/Fish (Calif.)

    Dual fires northeast of Los Angeles have burned about 5,000 acres since June 20. 858 homes were evacuated. On June 22, residents of 534 were allowed to go home.

    When you’re preparing to evacuate, be prepared for a long stay.  Have something to do in your go bag. Have a way to recharge a phone. Make sure you’ve got a place for pets. Many shelters won’t allow pets unless they’re service animals.

     

    Dog Head (N.M.)

    Fire via AP Home burning - photo via AP

    The Dog Head fire in central New Mexico burned almost 18,000 acres and destroyed 12 homes and 44 other structures. It is 90 percent contained.

    It could have been worse if thinning out dead trees had not taken place, said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, who toured the area June 24. In California, according to a report released June 22, 66 million trees have died in the last five years, and only 77,000 have been cut down.

    If you live in wildfire country, clear an area about 30 feet around your home of anything that might burn, like wood piles, dried leaves, and brush. Keep the roof and gutters clean.

     

    Saddle (Utah)

    Lightning on June 13 caused the Saddle fire in southern Utah. A voluntary evacuation is still in place for the nearby town of Pine Valley. The fire spread in part because three times in a week, drones grounded firefighting aircraft.

    Don’t be stupid. This time of year, as temperatures climb and vegetation dies, the western U.S. is a tinderbox. Fire restrictions are in place in southern Utah and Arizona. Obey them. Don’t do anything that might ignite dry vegetation. When there is a fire, be aware of emergency vehicles.

     

    Cedar (Ariz.)

    Firefighters are beginning to consider the aftermath of the Cedar fire, which has been burning since June 15. The fire, which burned 46,000 acres, was 60 percent contained Sunday.

    It burned during a period of horrendous temperatures. Six people died from heat. Temperatures exceeded 120 degrees in parts of Arizona.

    Ready.gov has several suggestions for keeping safe during extreme heat.

    Excessive heat warnings and heat alerts are still in effect in many places in the west. Be smart and be safe, especially during the holiday weekend ahead.

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner - Fire

  • Fort McMurray Fire Forces Entire City to Evacuate

    Fort McMurray Fire Wildfire along highway 63 Fort McMurray, Alberta Canada May 3, 2016. Courtesy CBC News/Handout via REUTERS

    Fires raged through Fort McMurray, a city in northeastern Alberta, Canada. The pine trees, once green, burned like candles. The entire city – over 80,000 people – was evacuated. What will become of their homes is left up to fate. After burning for days, the fire has destroyed at least one neighborhood and caused severe damage in others. Fortunately, there have been no reports of deaths or injuries.

    The Fort McMurray fire started on Sunday, May 1, 2016, and was declared under control on July 5, 2016. Because of hot weather, low humidity, and strong winds, the raging fire has been difficult to contain. The only way in and out of town is the city’s lone bridge spanning the Athabasca River. Officials have marked that as a high priority to protect.

    Without that bridge, nobody is getting in or out, and that includes supplies.

    After subduing the fire somewhat, the winds shifted, and according to reports, “flames stormed along a ravine and roared into the city and the race was on to get out.” The scene was not far off from something in an apocalyptic movie.

    Unfortunately, once the fire picked up, there was little time to get out. That meant evacuating with basically just the clothes on one’s back. One man opened his front door of his house and was greeted by smoke and flames surrounding his neighborhood. He promptly got on his motorcycle, made his way through traffic, and out of Fort McMurray. He took nothing with him.

    Wild fires are swift and dangerous. They can escalate without warning, and much of the time – as in this case – leave no time to gather emergency supplies. Being prepared for such unexpected emergencies is crucial. You never know when you’ll need to jump in your car and leave your home and belongings to fend for themselves.

    Because you just never know what will happen – or when – it is of vital importance to put an emergency plan together and prepare with essential supplies you will need for any scenario.

     

    72 Hour Kits

    First things first. Make sure you have the necessities you need for the first three days of an emergency. Your 72 hour kit should include water, food, sanitation items, gear for warmth, and other personal items specific to your needs. Ensure this bag is in an easy to reach location so you’re not wasting precious moments searching for it. Keeping it in the front hall closet (or similar location) is a good idea.

     

    Fuel

    Always keep your vehicle at least half full of gas. If you’re running on empty and have to evacuate, you could be in for quite the ordeal if your car suddenly runs out of gas. This is what happened to many people evacuating during the Fort McMurray fire. According to one report, vehicles were scattered on the sides of the road, some broken down, but some were out of gas. Police officers had to walk up and down the bottle-necked highway with gas cans to help those stranded make their escape.

    This example fuels the importance of always being prepared – no matter what. Make it a priority to keep your car at least a half a tank full. Otherwise, if there is a sudden emergency, you might find yourself trapped on the side of the road, and in that instance, there may not be kind police officers with extra gas to hand out.

     

     

    Listen

    Pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you know there is a big fire nearby, keep tabs on it. The man who left his home with just his motorcycle received a phone call from a family member warning him to leave. That’s when he opened his door, saw the flames, and rode away. We are uninformed as to his situation, and perhaps there was a reason he didn’t know the fire had come so close, but this scenario helps hit home the need to monitor emergency situations. Because you never know when the heat will get cranked up and you need to run.

    Also, follow the council of your local officials. If they give the order to evacuate, do so immediately. They have lots of information available to them, and they know better than anyone the dangers involved. It’s just not worth the risk to wait.

     

    Emergency Plan

    Create a plan with your family of important things to remember during an emergency. Who grabs what and what actions to take in certain circumstances would be a good start. Likewise, come up with a few locations to meet up, just in case you aren’t all together at the time of an evacuation. This will help keep your family together during emergencies. Ready.gov has many more ideas for an emergency plan.

     

    Clean Up

    Keep your yard free of highly flammable objects, such as dead grass, leaves, or branches. Clean out those natural fire starters every once in a while so that if a fire does come, your yard won’t be a huge contributor in feeding the flames.

     

    Fort McMurray fire via Edmonton Journal Fort McMurray fire closing in - via Edmonton Journal

    With the massive evacuations up north, we are reminded of what we must do in order to be effectively prepared. While you can’t necessarily protect everything you own, you can at least protect yourself and your family. Things come and go, but life is precious, and by preparing in advance for emergencies (such as earthquakes, drought, or even raging wildfires), we can make sure we are properly prepared for, protected, and comfortable during these times of crisis.

     

    Take time today to go over your family emergency plan. In what areas do you need to improve?

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner  Fort McMurray Fire

  • How to Survive a Burning Ship

    How to Survive a Burning Ship

    More than 400 people were safely evacuated from a car ferry that caught fire Sunday off Greece’s Adriatic coast. Poor weather conditions made rescue difficult, but Italian and Greek helicopters and rescue teams managed to bring most of the passengers to safety. Unfortunately, there were 10 casualties.

    The boat drifted in rough seas between Italy and Greece as passengers waited to be rescued. The cause of the fire is still unknown, and attempts to tow the ship to shore ended when the tow cables broke overnight. Italian and Albanian magistrates are debating whether to continue attempting to tow the boat for investigation.

    The U.S. Coast Guard’s 2011 Recreational Boating Statistics Report listed 218 boating accidents that year involving a fire or explosion. Though there were losses in the ferry fire, passengers and rescuers worked together to bring most of the passengers safely to shore.

    The problem with boat fires is that you cannot simply run across the street to escape it; the only way to escape a boat fire is to await rescue or go overboard, which can be nearly as dangerous.

     

    HOW TO SURVIVE A BURNING SHIP

    Plan Ahead

    Thinking ahead of the best way to respond to a boat fire increases the probability you’ll remain calm and react correctly should one break out. Boat fires can go from smoke to inferno in minutes, so every moment counts. If possible, test safety equipment ahead of time to ensure you will know how to use it in the heat of the moment.

    Wear a Life Jacket

    First and foremost, put on a life jacket in case you do need to go (or accidentally go) overboard. Life jackets are designed to keep your head above water and in a position that helps you breathe when in the water. Keep in mind that adult-sized life jackets are not suitable for children. A life jacket should fit snugly and won’t allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through.

    Locate an Escape Route

    If the boat is docked, escape is simple. You can even bypass the life jackets and just get off the boat. In this case, call the firefighters to handle the fire for you; professionals are always a good bet.

    If the boat is at sea or in other deep waters when fire breaks out, escape can be more challenging—and, of course, the bigger the boat, the more complex your route can be. Every time you step foot on a large boat, like a ferry or cruiseliner, take note of the emergency plan (which should be posted in a public area of a ferry, as well as posted in your state room on a cruise ship), and pay attention during the “boring” emergency practice drill you’re required to attend on a cruise.

    Attempt to Extinguish the Flames

    If a fire extinguisher is handy, aim it at the base of the flames and discharge it, using a back and forth sweeping motion. Remember P.A.S.S:
    • Pull pin,
    • Aim at base of fire
    • Squeeze handle
    • Sweep side to side
    Never use water on an electric, gasoline, grease, or oil fire. Fifty-five percent of boat fires are caused by wiring and appliance malfunctions. Be sure that the fire extinguisher you are using is appropriate for the type of fire you’re facing. If the fire cannot be contained, the boat will be lost.

    Watch this video on methods for fighting various boat fires:

    Move Away from the Fire

    If the fire is uncontainable, move away from it, closing doors and hatches behind you, and move windward if possible. At this point, you’ll need to decide whether to wait for rescue or abandon ship.

    Bear in mind that the smoke and chemicals released in the fire can be more dangerous than the fire itself.

    Abandon Ship, if Necessary

    If possible, enter the life raft directly from the boat; avoid swimming to reach the raft. Bring a radio distress beacon on board the raft along with emergency supplies, such as important medication, water, a Swiss army knife, a whistle, a flashlight and a first-aid kit (many life rafts and escape boats will already be equipped with these supplies; that’s the kind of information you’ll want to know in advance). If you are traveling in foreign waters, bring travel documents as well.

    Once on board the raft, get to a safe distance from the burning boat. Try to stay dry and stay warm by huddling with other raft passengers. If there is no supply of drinking water on the raft or escape boat, arrange to collect rainwater and ration it to a maximum of half a quart per person per day.

    Preparedness is Key

    The more you are prepared for a boat fire when traveling by sea, the more likely you’ll able to handle it calmly, should it happen. More than 400 passengers aboard the car ferry did the right thing in a tough situation and lived to tell about it.

    Sources
    http://www.boatus.com/seaworthy/fire/
    http://www.nordhavn.com/resources/tech/boat_fires.php
    http://www.boat-ed.com/pennsylvania/studyGuide/Preventing-Fires-and-What-to-Do-if-Fire-Erupts-on-Your-Boat/101039_101039194
    http://threesheetsnw.com/blog/2014/05/what-to-do-when-your-boat-catches-fire/
    http://www.soundingsonline.com/boat-shop/sea-savvy/292025-fire-on-board-heres-what-to-do
    http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/life_jacket_wear_wearing_your_life_jacket.aspx

1-3 of 10

Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
Back to Top