Fire Chief Tim Butler

Fire Chief Tim Butler
Thanks for checking out my web log! My radio call sign in Saint Paul is "Car 1." Join me as we go "On Scene" to the fire stations, training evolutions, emergency incidents, and community events in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Let's share perspectives on the issues facing our Department, our community, and the American Fire Service!

Monday, October 17, 2011


I cannot believe we are more than halfway through October!! October is Fire Prevention Month, and I do hope you'll take a few minutes over the next couple of weeks to reduce the risk of having a fire in your home or business. This year's Fire Prevention theme is "Protect Your Family from Fire."

What a SUPERB theme for Fire Prevention Month!! Although we all would like to think that our homes are the safest place to be, our homes are actually the most DANGEROUS place to be in regards to fires. 3/4 of all structure fires occur in the home. Most fire-related civilian injuries and fatalities occur in the home - nearly 80%!

Sadly, it's our own habits and behaviors that cause most fires. Inattentive cooking is the leading cause, but smoking, careless use of candles or open flames, and combustibles placed too close to heaters or fireplaces are also significant causes of home fires.

So....during the next two weeks, would you take just 30 MINUTES to Protect Your Family from Fire? Here's how:

+ Ensure you have operating smoke detectors. Doing so improves your chance of surviving a fire by more than 50%! Check your battery-operated smoke detectors. Hit the test button once a month to ensure they still work, and change the batteries once a year. Don't remember when you changed the batteries last?.....then change the batteries during October. Older detectors may not work as well as they should. Most detectors only last about 10 years. If yours are old, change them....and write the date of installation on the back of the detector so you can check on their age in the future.

+ Ensure you've discussed a home escape plan with your family members. Practice getting out from each bedroom, the kitchen, and the family room. Anticipate the need for 2 ways out of every room, and identify a meeting place outside so that everyone can be accounted for if they are escaping from different rooms.

+ NEVER leave cooking unattended, and NEVER put water on a stove top fire! Some experts suggest having a portable fire extinguisher handy near the kitchen. If you're comfortable with that - then do it! For most people, the simple advise is still the best advise: GET OUT, call 9-1-1, and the Fire Department will take of the fire.

+ If you smoke, thoroughly crush all butts and dispose of all smoking materials in DEEP ash containers. Be responsible for your discarded matches, lighters, and butts. Remember: if you lit the cigarette and a fire ensues......well, then you lit the fire, didn't you?

+ Be careful when using candles and incense. Place them away from all combustibles, and keep children away from them. Snuff them out thoroughly if you need to leave the room where they are in use.

+ Space heaters should be treated like open flames: keep combustibles and children away, and turn them off if you need to leave the room where the heaters are in use.

+ Finally: although not specifically fire-related, please ensure that there is a carbon monoxide detector installed within 10 feet of every sleeping area in your home. Carbon-monoxide is not detectible by sight, taste, or smell, and results from incomplete combustion - usually (for homeowners) in gas-fired appliances. During the heating season, when heaters and furnaces are in continuous use and homes are "buttoned up" against the cold outdoor weather, people are especially susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. A detector installed near the bedroom areas of your home can alert you before it's too late.

Each of these steps takes just a little time...some as little as 10 seconds! Almost all of these them take less than an hour or two. That's a small investment for protecting your family from fire.

If you have any questions about protecting your home, contact the Saint Paul Fire Department at 651-224-7811. We can help. If you live in Saint Paul, Firefighters will even come to your home and work with your family to reduce your risk of fire. Call us about this program - called Project Safe Haven. Over 600 families already have! We will help your family develop and practice a family escape plan, install smoke alarms, and answer any additional questions you have. Together, we can "Protect Your Family from Fire!"

Thank you, and have a safe and enjoyable month of October!

No comments:

Post a Comment