Did you know that five people have died in residential fires in Portland so far in 2009 where no smoke alarms were found or the alarm did not activate?
For years, "Change your clock, change your smoke alarm battery" was the advice from your firefighters. New technology has changed that. Now firefighters are asking you to "Change your clock, install a new smoke alarm with a 10-year lithium battery."
Any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old has lost much of its effectiveness and should be replaced. A 1998 Oregon law requires that any new smoke alarm sold or installed in Oregon must contain a lithium battery that is expected to last up to 10 years.
Never replace the battery in a new-technology smoke alarm. Instead, replace the entire unit. New alarms are simply not designed to work for longer than the 10-year life span.
The new smoke alarms also have a "Hush Button." This button will silence the alarm when nuisance smoke or shower steam accidentally set it off. Pushing the button will silence the device for up to 15 minutes before it resets itself. By installing a new smoke alarm with the "Hush Button," you will never forget to put the battery back in after a nuisance activation.
None of these features reduce the need to test every smoke alarm every month.
Smoke alarms continue to provide your best protection against dying in a fire. Most fires occur in the home and the greatest risk is when you are sleeping. Protect yourself and your loved ones by checking your smoke alarm today. Replace the old technology with the new: smoke alarms with a lithium battery and hush feature. If you qualify, Portland Fire & Rescue will provide and install a smoke alarm for free! Call the "Smoke Alarm Hotline" at (503) 823-3752 for details.
Halloween festivities can increase the risk of fire-related injuries and property damage. In Oregon between 2004 and 2008, in the days leading up to Halloween, there were 125 structure fires that caused over $2 million dollars in property damage. Even of more consequence, these fires injured a civilian and three firefighters.
With Halloween events and activities in full effect this weekend, Portland Fire & Rescue wants to remind you of simple tips to increase fire safety:
Buy only costumes, wigs and props labeled flame-resistant or flame-retardant. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
Provide children with lightweight flashlights to carry for lighting or as part of their costume.
Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, and heaters.
It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for exits and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
Clackamas, Clark, Columbia, Multnomah, and Washington counties in conjunction with the State of Oregon and Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) have established the region’s first Flue Joint Information Center (JIC). The Flu JIC, located in Southeast Portland, is being staffed full-time by Public Information Officers (PIO) throughout the region to provide accurate, timely, and consistent information about H1N1 and the Seasonal Flu to the community.
Flu JIC staff are in daily contact with PIOs in each county and from the state, giving the information center a full picture of what is happening across the region.
The City of Brookings, Oregon will be receiving a $350,000 Emergency Operating Center (EOC) in 2010, courtesy of the Office of Homeland Security. If a major emergency such as a fire, flood, earthquake, or tsunami occurs, the EOC will provide a centralized command and control facility for the Police Chief, Fire Chief, representatives of Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative, the U.S. Coast Guard, and representatives of any other agencies involved in the emergency operations. The EOC will also house emergency communications equipment, tables, wall screens, and charts to monitor emergency operations. Click here for more information.