Fire

10 smart tips for a safe and festive Fourth of July

By Stuart Marrs, CSFD Public Information Officer

Most of us build our traditional Independence Day celebrations around food, family, and friends, not to mention plenty of bright and colorful fireworks. Unfortunately, fireworks can also cause injuries and damage property, even when properly used.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch a professional fireworks display such as the Texas A&M RELLIS campus Fireworks in Bryan Saturday night at the RELLIS Campus.

Can you guess what types of fireworks cause the most injuries? It’s not bottle rockets, roman candles, or even the aerial firecrackers — it’s those innocent-looking sparklers. They produce about a third of all fireworks-related injuries.

Sparklers burn at about 1,200 degrees, Six-times hotter than boiling water. Glow sticks, confetti poppers, and bubbles a much safer alternative for young children.

As you prepare for your Fourth of July celebration, here are 10 essential things to keep in mind:

  1. It’s illegal to discharge fireworks in the city limits.
  2. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, stay at least six feet away from others and wear a face mask, especially indoors. It’s also a good idea to avoid large gatherings, even with your extended family. 
  3. When using fireworks, always read the labels first and wear safety glasses.
  4. Never give fireworks to children. An adult should supervise fireworks activities.
  5. Light one firework at a time, then quickly move away.
  6. Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles.
  7. Never re-light a dud. Wait 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water.
  8. Always have a bucket of water and a water hose nearby.
  9. Never shoot fireworks near pets. Make sure your pets – especially those sensitive to loud noises – are where they feel safe and comfortable.
  10. Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.

If you’re planning a cookout, be sure to practice safe grilling practices, too:

Related Links:

 


About the Blogger

Stuart Marrs has been with the College Station Fire Department since 2009 and has served as a captain since 2017. He was previously a firefighter with the Huntsville (Texas) Fire Department. Stuart studied communications at Texas A&M and earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from TAMU-Commerce in 2019.


 

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Video: Keep your kids safe around the pool

Drowning is among the leading causes of death for young children. The College Station Fire Department offers these tips to help you keep your kids safe around the pool this summer.

– Public Communications Office


Video: Don’t be afraid to call 911 during pandemic

The College Station Fire Department has seen a significant decrease in calls for emergency medical services during the COVID-19 pandemic. When heart attacks, strokes, and other medical emergencies happen, time is of the essence.

Our EMS and fire personnel follow all the recommended CDC guidelines and precautions. If you need emergency medical attention, please don’t hesitate to call 911 and get the help you need.

– College Station Fire Department

 

 


Federal grants mean more (and safer) firefighters

By Carter Hall, CSFD Firefighter

Thanks to three federal grants approved Monday night by the city council, the College Station Fire Department will soon have more trained, front-line firefighters available in our community.

The $1.2 million in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency significantly enhance the department’s capabilities by not only adding firefighters but also equipping stations with diesel exhaust removal systems and providing training for standardized emergency operations management.

One $911,476 grant was awarded through the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) program and will help increase or maintain the number of trained firefighters we have available for responding to emergencies.

The other two grants, totaling $286,906, were from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The funds will provide source-capturing diesel exhaust removal systems in three of our fire stations along with the Blue Card Hazard Zone Incident Command Training and Certification Program (Blue Card).

Diesel exhaust has been linked to increased cancer rates and is an increasing threat at fire stations as well as fire scenes. The removal system limits the exposure of firefighters and their protective gear by removing exhaust from vehicle areas. We haven’t set an installation date, but we want the vital cancer-reducing equipment installed as soon as possible.

Blue Card provides firefighters a standardized system to safely and effectively manage emergency operations through an online, hands-on training simulator. The system also enables CSFD to become a Blue Card training facility. Blue Card training has already started and encompasses all personnel involved in emergency response. We have 161 people enrolled.

“I’m proud to enhance our capabilities by adding firefighters to serve the citizens, keeping firefighters safe from work-related contaminants, and providing training for use on emergency scenes,” Fire Chief Jonathan McMahan said. “I also thank the College Station Professional Firefighter Association for its continued advocacy and support of firefighter safety and wellness initiatives and its assistance with the grant process.”

CSFD Accepting Applications

The CSFD is accepting applications for firefighters who want to join the department as part of the SAFER staffing. To apply, go to cstx.gov/fire.

 


About the Blogger

Carter Hall has been a College Station firefighter since 2011. He earned a degree in leadership development from Texas A&M in 2005.


 

 

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Smart tips for a safe and festive Fourth of July

By Carter Hall, CSFD Public Information Officer

Most of us build our traditional Independence Day celebrations around family and friends, not to mention plenty of bright and colorful fireworks. Unfortunately, fireworks can also cause injuries and damage property, even when properly used.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch a professional fireworks display such as the “I Love America” celebration Thursday night at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Can you guess what types of fireworks cause the most injuries? It’s not bottle rockets, roman candles or small firecrackers — it’s those innocent-looking sparklers. They produce about a third of all fireworks-related injuries.

Sparklers burn at about 1,200 degrees, which makes glow sticks a much safer alternative for young children.

As you prepare for your Fourth of July celebration, here are some other things to keep in mind:

  1. It’s illegal to discharge fireworks in the city limits.
  2. When using fireworks, always read the labels first and wear safety glasses.
  3. Never give fireworks to children. An adult should supervise fireworks activities.
  4. Light one firework at a time, then quickly move away.
  5. Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles.
  6. Never re-light a dud. Wait 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water.
  7. Always have a bucket of water and a water hose nearby.
  8. Never shoot fireworks near pets. Make sure your pets – especially those sensitive to loud noises – are where they feel safe and comfortable.
  9. Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.

If you’re planning a cookout, be sure to practice safe grilling practices, too:

Have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day!

 


About the Blogger

Carter Hall has been a College Station firefighter since 2011. He earned a degree in leadership development from Texas A&M in 2005.


 

 

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CSFD’s free program reduces stovetop fire risks

By Carter Hall, CSFD Public Information Officer

Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and injuries and the second leading cause of home fire deaths.​ The elderly are the most at risk.

The College Station Fire Department can help minimize that risk for senior adults and people with mobility issues. Thanks to a federal grant, we can provide and install an automatic, easy-to-use StoveTop FireStop fire suppression system for free. The device is available to College Station residents at least 65 years old.

If you or someone you know would benefit by having a StoveTop FireStop installed, contact  Community Risk Reduction Specialist Christina Seidel at cseidel@cstx.gov or 979-764-3705.

 


About the Blogger

Carter Hall has been a College Station firefighter since 2011. He earned a degree in leadership development from Texas A&M in 2005.


 

 

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Low limbs can wreak expensive havoc on fire trucks

By Carter Hall, CSFD Public Information Officer

Everyone loves trees, especially the towering ones that were around long before our grandparents.

Unfortunately, large limbs from many of these gorgeous trees eventually become overgrown and hang perilously above residential streets. The thick canopy formed by the branches aren’t a problem for most vehicles, but fire, utility and trash trucks are a different matter.

We appreciate the immeasurable value of trees, especially large ones, but we can’t risk expensive damage to our ladder trucks and older engines that have ladder racks. The repair bills can cost our taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and put vital equipment out of service for months.

These accidents aren’t rare, either.

In recent months, several Texas fire departments have had ladder platforms severely damaged by low-hanging limbs. The Bryan Fire Department had a ladder/platform damaged by a limb last year, and it cost more than $80,000 and took about nine months to get the truck back into operation.

The Fire Department is working diligently with residents to address the issue by trimming the trees to a height of at least 14 feet if possible. We certainly don’t want to cause harm or kill these old trees, but we also want to get to your house or your neighbor’s quickly in an emergency without damaging our trucks or your property.

For more information or to have us evaluate low-hanging limbs in your neighborhood, call us at 979-764-3705.

 


About the Blogger

Carter Hall has been a College Station firefighter since 2011. He earned a degree in leadership development from Texas A&M in 2005.


 

 

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CSFD joins elite company with Class 1 ISO rating

By Carter Hall, CSFD Public Information Officer

Everyone likes to be No. 1, especially in a sports-crazed town such as College Station. But in some cases, being No. 1 means much more than bragging rights with your rivals.

Take College Station’s new Class 1 ISO fire rating, which is effective Monday.

The Insurance Service Office (ISO) classifies communities on a scale of 1 to 10. Those that earn the Class 1 demonstrate the best systems for water distribution, fire department equipment, firefighting personnel, and dispatch facilities.

The College Station Fire Department is one of only seven in Texas to have both a Class 1 ISO rating and international accreditation through the Center for Public Safety Excellence. Even more impressive is that fewer than one percent of the 47,500 fire protection areas in the United States are ISO Class 1.

The new rating also means you may pay less to insure your home or business. Most U.S. property insurers use ISO’s Public Protection Classification program to calculate premiums, which are generally lower in communities with a high rating. Contact your insurer to see if the change might affect your premiums.

College Station Fire Chief Jonathan McMahan recognizes the importance of reaching this milestone. “Becoming an ISO Class 1 community was one of my top strategic initiatives when I became the fire chief in early 2017,” he said. “Having this designation demonstrates the city’s ongoing commitment to providing excellent fire protection for our residents.”

Chief McMahan also recognizes Water Services’ David Coleman, Gary Mechler, and Stephen Maldonado, Jr., along with Robert Radtke of Public Safety Communications, — and their teams — for their hard work in achieving the improved rating. The achievement ties together the credibility of our fire, water, and communication departments and makes College Station an even more attractive community for businesses and families.

Key elements considered by ISO were:

  • Response capability, which consists of the staffing of fire service personnel on engine and ladder companies.
  • Fire station distribution, including location and coverage area.
  • Adequate and appropriate apparatus and equipment.
  • Fire department training.
  • Fire department organizational structure.

ISO then evaluated the city’s water supply and distribution system, public safety communications, and fire prevention codes and enforcement.

Representatives from the Insurance Services Office and the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office will officially present College Station with its Class 1 ISO rating at Thursday’s city council meeting.

 


About the Blogger

Carter Hall has been a College Station firefighter since 2011. He earned a degree in leadership development from Texas A&M in 2005.


 

 

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Planning is essential for your family’s fire safety

By Carter Hall, College Station Firefighter

Home fires kill an average of about seven people every day. But did you know almost half of those are children under the age of five?

Most young kids don’t understand fire dangers and are incapable of knowing how to get out of a burning building. As adults, it’s our responsibility to take precautions such as installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, reducing fire risks, and practicing a fire escape plan. (more…)


3 ways Citizens Fire Academy will make you better

By Carter Hall, CSFD Firefighter

Most of us have New Year’s resolutions that include things such as living a healthier lifestyle, saving more and spending less, and simply enjoying life to the fullest. College Station’s 12-week Citizens Fire Academy, which begins Feb. 5, can help you fulfill at least one of those promises. (more…)


Seven ways to reduce your holiday fire risks

By Carter Hall, CSFD Firefighter

If you’re the observant type, you may notice the beautiful holiday wreaths that adorn College Station’s six fire stations. Wreaths are hardly uncommon this time of year, but those displayed at our firehouses are a bit different.

The wreaths were initially illuminated entirely with white lights, but with each structure fire we fight in December, a light changes to red. We hope as many white lights as possible are still shining brightly at the end of the month.

Follow these seven tips to help us keep the lights white: (more…)


Recipe for a successful Thanksgiving? Don’t set your house on fire

By Carter Hall, CSFD Firefighter

Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude, family, friends, and, of course, delicious food. No surprise: All of us with the College Station Fire Department are thankful when everyone practices holiday safety in the kitchen, since Thanksgiving is the leading day for home-cooking fires.

In fact, the United States averages 1,800 cooking fires every Thanksgiving Day. That’s three times the number of fires occurring on any other day of the year, which is why these simple safety tips are so important:

  • Never leave unattended food on the stove or in the oven.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and long sleeves while cooking because those can easily catch fire.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the cooking area; watch them closely if they insist on being mini-chefs.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over toys, shoes or other objects.
  • Keep flammable items, like potholders and paper or plastic bags, away from the stove and oven.
  • Turn pan handles toward the back of the stove to prevent accidental knock-overs.
  • Have activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Games, puzzles or books are great options.
  • Involve kids in Thanksgiving preparations with recipes that can be followed outside the kitchen.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of the home, including inside and outside bedrooms.

Also, keep safety in mind when using a turkey fryer because a fire can get out of hand in less than a minute.

If fried turkey is your Thanksgiving tradition, only use a fryer outside and safely away from your home – not inside your garage and not on your porch. Don’t overfill the oil in your turkey fryer, and always keep an eye on the bird when it’s cooking in the oil.

From all the dedicated men and women at College Station Fire Department who work to protect lives and property – especially on Thanksgiving Day – we hope your hearts and stomachs are full, and your holiday is safe.

 


Carter Hall has been a firefighter with the College Station Fire Department since 2011.


 

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10 tips to help you safely celebrate Independence Day

ByGreg Rodgers, CSFD Division Chief

Most of us build our traditional Independence Day celebrations around family and friends – not to mention plenty of bright and colorful fireworks.

Don’t let fireworks injuries spoil the fun. (more…)


You could learn to save a life in just 10 minutes

By Greg Rodgers, CSFD Division Chief

If someone you love – or a complete stranger – were to go into sudden cardiac arrest, would you know what to do?

Would you stand by helplessly waiting for help to arrive as precious seconds tick away?

Several years ago, an older man was walking in the local mall one morning when he suddenly dropped to the ground.  He was having a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. With blood no longer flowing to the brain and other vital organs, SCA usually leads to death if not treated quickly.

Fortunately for him, someone nearby had been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), took quick action, and saved his life.

In my 35 years in the fire service, I’ve witnessed sudden cardiac arrest three times. Two had positive outcomes, thanks to the immediate application of CPR.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year and is a leading cause of death. According to the American Heart Association, survival rates can double or even triple if someone administers CPR until emergency medical services personnel arrive. Without CPR, about 90 percent of those who suffer SCA outside of a hospital don’t make it.

That’s made me a strong believer in proactive CPR training programs.

Learn Basic CPR on Thursday

If you’ve ever wanted to learn this life-saving technique but never seemed to find the time, here’s your chance.

The College Station Fire Department will participate in the World CPR and Stop the Bleed Challenge on Thursday from noon-6 p.m. at Fire Stations 2, 3 and 6. Perhaps the most extensive bystander CPR training event ever, the initiative is designed to teach compression-only CPR in 10 minutes to as many people as possible in a single afternoon. Participation is free, no registration is required, and family and friends are welcome.

Experienced College Station firefighters will conduct the short training sessions. Since compression is the most effective element of CPR, that’s the focus. No mouth-to-mouth techniques will be involved. Here’s the five-step process you’ll learn:

  1. Check for responsiveness.
  2. Call 911.
  3. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
  4. Send someone for an automated external defibrillator (AED).
  5. Keep it up until help arrives.

Knowing effective CPR techniques can have a direct effect on your friends, family, and everyone around you. CPR training may not guarantee a positive outcome, but it dramatically increases the odds.

For more information, contact me at 979-229-6625 or grodgers@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Greg Rodgers is in his 31st year with the College Station Fire Department, where is a division chief and serves as the department’s public information officer. A native of San Antonio, Greg earned a bachelor’s degree in emergency management administration from West Texas A&M in 2008.


 

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Burning incense, grilling can be hazardous if misused

By Christina Seidel, CSFD Community Risk Reduction Specialist

When I think about burn injuries, I picture searing my hand on a toaster or curling iron, but those types of burns account for only 8 percent of burn injuries. The most common burns – 46 percent – come from direct contact with fire.

Incense and barbecue grills are prime culprits, especially in College Station, where we have responded to several incidents in the last year. Since this is Burn Awareness Week, it’s an ideal time to review some basic safety tips.

Incense

People burn incense for the same reasons they burn candles – they are fragrant and can provide a calm and soothing atmosphere. But since enjoying incense requires burning it, you should always make safety a priority.

For example, you should place incense burners on heat-resistant surfaces and make sure that the burner is properly insulated. It’s also important to never leave burning incense unattended and to keep it away from combustibles.

In 2005, a horrific fire in Washington D.C. caused by incense resulted in the death of two sisters, who were burning incense near a sofa and houseplant when the items ignited. The flames and thick smoke apparently obscured their escape route, so they sought shelter in the bathroom, where they died of smoke inhalation.

It’s important to remember that burn injuries can happen from burning anything, no matter how small or insignificant. If you enjoy burning incense, it’s a good idea to observe these safety tips:

Barbecue Grills

The weather in College Station – the recent cold spell notwithstanding – is frequently ideal for outdoor grilling, no matter the season. In addition to keeping the grill 10 feet from your house, cleaning the grill regularly, and checking for gas leaks, you should also fully understand how to light and re-light your grill safely.

In 2013, ESPN anchor Hannah Storm suffered second-degree burn injuries to her face while re-lighting her grill. Watch this video to learn more about her story and to see how gas can build up and cause an explosion:

If you’re unsure about how to use anything that involves a flame, be sure to research it thoroughly beforehand. The College Station Fire Department offers several prevention and safety programs, including one on the proper use of fire extinguishers.

For more information, contact me at 979-764-3712 or cseidel@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Community Risk Reduction Specialist Christina Seidel has been with the College Station Fire Department since 2013. She previously served as executive director of the Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley and was a teacher for several years in her hometown of Lockhart. Seidel earned a bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from the University of Texas in 2001.


 

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Photo Copyright: aruba2000/123RF Stock Photo


10 tips to help you safely celebrate Independence Day

By Greg Rodgers, CSFD Battalion Chief

Most of us build our traditional Independence Day celebrations around family and friends —  not to mention plenty of bright and colorful fireworks.

Don’t let fireworks injuries spoil the fun. (more…)


In just 10 minutes, you could learn to save a life

By Greg Rodgers, CSFD Battalion Chief

If someone you love – or a complete stranger – were to go into sudden cardiac arrest, would you know what to do?

Would you stand by helplessly waiting for help to arrive as precious seconds tick away?

Several years ago, an older man was walking in the local mall one morning when he suddenly dropped to the ground.  He was having a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. With blood no longer flowing to the brain and other vital organs, SCA usually leads to death if not treated quickly.

Fortunately for him, someone nearby had been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), took quick action, and saved his life.

In my 34 years in the fire service, I’ve witnessed sudden cardiac arrest three times. Two had positive outcomes, thanks to the immediate application of CPR.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year and is a leading cause of death. According to the American Heart Association, survival rates can double or even triple if someone administers CPR until emergency medical services personnel arrive. Without CPR, about 90 percent of those who suffer SCA outside of a hospital don’t make it.

That’s made me a strong believer in proactive CPR training programs.

Learn Basic CPR on Thursday

If you’ve ever wanted to learn this life-saving technique but never seemed to find time, here’s your chance.

The College Station Fire Department will participate in the World CPR Challenge on Thursday from noon-6 p.m. at Fire Stations 2, 5 and 6. Perhaps the most extensive bystander CPR training event ever, the initiative is designed to teach compression-only CPR in 10 minutes to as many people as possible in a single afternoon. No registration is required.

Experienced College Station firefighters will conduct the short training sessions. Since compression is the most effective element of CPR, that’s the focus. No mouth-to-mouth techniques will be involved. Here’s the five-step process you’ll learn:

  1. Check for responsiveness.
  2. Call 911.
  3. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
  4. Send someone for an automated external defibrillator (AED).
  5. Keep it up until help arrives.

Knowing effective CPR techniques can have a direct effect on your friends, family, and everyone around you. CPR training may not guarantee a positive outcome, but it dramatically increases the odds.

For more information, contact me at 979-229-6625 or grodgers@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Greg Rodgers is in his 30th year with the College Station Fire Department, where is a battalion chief and serves as the department’s public information officer. A native of San Antonio, Greg earned a bachelor’s degree in emergency management administration from West Texas A&M in 2008.


 

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CSFD saves two dogs in apartment fire

Firefighter Paramedics Tara Hodges and Kyle Cowden tend to one of the injured dogs as Driver Brad Ballard watches.

College Station firefighters responding to a kitchen fire Thursday night at The Gables apartments revived two dogs that were not breathing.

Firefighters were dispatched to the apartment at 401 University Oaks at 7:52 p.m. After quickly extinguishing a fire on the kitchen stove, they searched the residence and found the unconscious dogs and a kitten.

EMS personnel were able to revive both dogs, who were taken to the Texas A&M Vet School for additional treatment. Both are expected to recover, but the kitten did not survive.

— College Station Fire Department


Photos: McMahan sworn in as fire chief

Jonathan McMahan was sworn in Friday afternoon as College Station’s new fire chief in a ceremony at Fire Station No. 6.

Here are some photos:

Judge Ed Spillane administers the oath to Chief McMahan.

Judge Ed Spillane administers the oath to Chief McMahan.

Chief McMahan received his pin from Chief Michael Brandt of Arizona’s Northwest Fire District.

Chief McMahan received his pin from Chief Michael Brandt of Arizona’s Northwest Fire District.

City Manager Kelly Templin congratulates Chief McMahan.

City Manager Kelly Templin congratulates Chief McMahan.

(L-R) Councilman Jerome Rektorik, Mayor Karl Mooney, Councilwoman Linda Harvell, Fire Chief Jonathan McMahan, Police Chief Scott McCollum, Councilwoman Blanche Brick , and City Manager Kelly Templin.

(L-R) Councilman Jerome Rektorik, Mayor Karl Mooney, Councilwoman Linda Harvell, Fire Chief Jonathan McMahan, Police Chief Scott McCollum, Councilwoman Blanche Brick, and City Manager Kelly Templin.

College Station Fire Chief Jonathan McMahan.

College Station Fire Chief Jonathan McMahan.

Photos by Jon Carpenter

– Public Communications Office


Checking your smoke alarm’s age could save your life

fpw16infographic

By Christina Seidel, CSFD Public Education Officer

Did you know that having a working smoke alarm in your home can increase your chance of surviving a fire by 50 percent? That makes smoke alarms your first line of defense in a fire.

But did you also know you should replace your smoke alarms every 10 years?

That’s the focus of Fire Prevention Week, which begins nationwide on Sunday, Oct. 9 and runs through Saturday, Oct. 15. The theme of “Don’t Wait: Check the Date!” is a reminder to check the age of your smoke alarms and replace them if necessary.

Types of smoke alarms

Photoelectrical alarms have a light source inside that shines onto a sensor. When smoke travels between the light and the sensor, the alarm goes off. These types of smoke alarms are better at detecting slow-moving, smoldering fires because the particulates it detects are bigger than those detected by other alarms. Over time, the sensor inside the detector builds up too much dust — even if it’s cleaned regularly – and it becomes harder for it to detect the smoke.

Ionization alarms can sense smaller particulates that the human eye can’t see. The americium inside the detector gives off an electrical charge, which changes when smoke enters and triggers the alarm. As its electronic components age, ionization alarms become less reliable.

That’s why the National Fire Protection Association recommends you replace smoke alarms not only when they fail tests, but also when they are more than a decade old.

This video shows you how to check the age of your alarms:

Fire Prevention Week Events

  • As part of Fire Prevention Week, your neighborhood can register to participate in the Smoke Alarm Blitz on Oct. 10-11 (Monday-Tuesday). CSFD staff will check smoke alarms in up to 12 homes per neighborhood and even replace batteries if needed. Click here to register your neighborhood by the Thursday, Oct. 6 deadline.
  • On Tuesday, Oct. 11, call either College Station Dominos location between 6-8 p.m. and you can have your pizza delivered by a CSFD crew. If the firefighters find all your smoke alarms in working order, your pizza is free! If any alarms aren’t working, you’ll have to pay for your pizza, but the firefighters will replace batteries or install new alarms free of charge. You can’t lose!
  • On Saturday, Oct. 15, the CSFD Home Safety Trailer will be at the College Station Lowe’s for Safety Day. Kids can meet firefighters and brush up on fire safety in a home-like environment. They can practice calling 9-1-1, hear what smoke alarms sound like, and learn how to escape a home fire safely.

Citizens Fire Academy

Fire Prevention Week also kicks off registration for CSFD’s Citizens Fire Academy program. The free, 12-week program begins Jan. 31 and is designed to provide citizens a fun, interactive and in-depth behind-the-scenes look at their fire department. For more details or to apply, go to cstx.gov/cfa. The registration deadline is Jan. 10.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week or Citziens Fire Academy, contact me at cseidel@cstx.gov or 979-764-3712.

Stay safe and remember – Don’t Wait, Check the Date!

 


SeidelAbout the Author

Christina Seidel has been the College Station Fire Department’s Public Education Officer since 2013. She previously served as executive director of the Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley and was a teacher for several years in her hometown of Lockhart. Seidel earned a bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from the University of Texas in 2001.


 

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Inspirational “After the Fire” program visits B-CS

afterpic

By Christina Seidel, CSFD Public Education Officer

Early one January morning in 2000, arsonists set fire to a dormitory at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. Roommates Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons crawled through the smoke in the direction they were used to going.

They didn’t know they were crawling right into the fire.

Simons suffered third-degree burns on his palms, second-degree burns on his head and face, and a significant amount of smoke inhalation. Llanos’ coat ignited, causing third-degree burns from his head to his torso.

Simons and Llanos, along with 56 other injured students, were transported to St. Barnabas Medical Burn Unit in nearby Livingston. Three classmates died, and a pair of freshmen were eventually charged with the crime. The fire started when they set a bulletin board banner on fire as a prank.

Simons and Llanos spent years recovering from their physical and emotional injuries. Since that tragic day, they have advocated fire safety and prevention and served as a voice for burn victims across the country through a free program called After the Fire.

The pair will be in Bryan-College Station Sept. 13-15 for a series of seven presentations about their experiences:

Tuesday, Sept. 13

  • Bryan and Rudder high schools, (students only)
  • Texas A&M’s Rudder Theater, 7 p.m. (public, college students)

Wednesday, Sept. 14

  • A&M Consolidated and College Station high schools (students only)
  • Texas A&M’s Rudder Theater, 7 p.m. (public, college students)

Thursday, Sept. 15

  • Texas A&M’s Rudder Theater, 1:30 p.m. (public, city staff, sponsors, guests)

Shawn and Alvaro will be introduced at each presentation by Bryan firefighter Ricky Mantey, Jr., who was severely burned in the tragic Knights of Columbus Hall fire in 2013.

The College Station Fire Department, Bryan Fire Department, and Texas A&M’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety are hosting the presentations, which are sponsored by Siemens and Standard Automatic Fire Enterprises.

For more information about the program, contact CSFD Public Education Officer Christina Seidel at cseidel@cstx.gov or 979-764-3712.


SeidelAbout the Author

Christina Seidel has been the College Station Fire Department’s Public Education Officer since 2013. She previously served as executive director of the Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley and was a teacher for several years in her hometown of Lockhart. Seidel earned a bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from the University of Texas in 2001.


 

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Podcast: CSFD’s swift-water rescue you might’ve missed

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

On May 26, torrential rainfall caused widespread flooding that required College Station Fire Department’s swift-water rescue team to be called into action. Among their missions was to save a law enforcement officer whose patrol car had been swept off a roadway and down a creek.

Our podcast guest, Lt. Chad Phillips, describes the challenges he and his team faced in reaching this stranded officer — clinging to a tree for more than two hours — while rain was falling, floodwaters were rushing and rising, and darkness was upon them.

Click below to listen. If Soundcloud doesn’t play in your older version of Internet Explorer, click here to listen to the audio file from your system.

 


csf_jsocolAbout the Author

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his seventh year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. He’s a native of Breckenridge.


 

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Podcast: Retiring fire chief reflects on 35-year career

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

When College Station Fire Chief Eric Hurt announced his upcoming retirement, we couldn’t let him slip out the door before he gave us an exit interview about his 35-year career with CSFD.

In this episode, Chief Hurt talks about the ranks he enjoyed most and least, what he considers his closest call as a firefighter, and how the fire services industry could evolve over the next 10 years.

Podcast Archive

Click below to listen. If Soundcloud doesn’t play in your older version of Internet Explorer, click here to listen to the audio file from your system.

 


csf_jsocolAbout the Author

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his seventh year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. Hes a native of Breckenridge.


 

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International accreditation meaningful for CSFD, citizens

(L-R): CFAI Peer Team Leader Scott Avery, Driver/Engineer Stuart Marrs, Assistant Chief Paul Gunnels, CFAI Commission Chair Steven Westermann, Fire Chief Eric Hurt, Public Education Officer Christina Seidel.

(L-R): CFAI Peer Team Leader Scott Avery, Driver/Engineer Stuart Marrs, Assistant Chief Paul Gunnels, CFAI Commission Chair Steven Westermann, Fire Chief Eric Hurt, Public Education Officer Christina Seidel.

By Stuart Marrs, CSFD Driver/Engineer

To say College Station is a special place isn’t exactly earth-shattering news. Anybody who’s ever been here knows that, and we have an extensive list of national and state recognitions to prove it.

But what you might not know is that College Station recently joined Plano as the only two cities in Texas to have nationally accredited Fire, Police and Public Safety Communications departments.

This spring, the College Station Fire Department became an accredited agency through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). We’re one of only seven municipal fire departments in Texas – and 164 in the world — to attain this elite status.

To our firefighters, the recognition is meaningful because it’s bestowed by our peers. To our citizens, it’s clear evidence of our commitment to establish and maintain the highest standards as we strive to provide them with the best, most efficient services.

Accreditation also provides a framework for continually improving every aspect of our operations, which directly impacts the level of service we provide to our growing community.

A long, rigorous process

In 2013, the CSFD was challenged by our City Manager’s Office to renew our goal of international accreditation, a demanding process which requires evaluation in 254 performance areas. An 18-month internal self-assessment highlighted our strengths, exposed our weaknesses, and led to the creation of a strategic plan for continuous improvement.

In January, an independent peer assessment team of fire officers from around the country reviewed our self-assessment and strategic plan, then conducted four days of meticulous on-site inspections.

In March, Fire Chief Eric Hurt led our internal accreditation team to Orlando, Fla., to testify in front of the CFAI Commission. The 11-member panel asked questions regarding our emergency responses, time analysis, risk assessments, and plans for future growth before voting unanimously to grant accredited status to the CSFD.

A comprehensive team effort

Achieving accreditation is a result of the dedicated efforts of an overwhelming majority of our personnel from every level in our department. They were vital in providing data, developing community risk analyses, planning for future growth, researching and writing technical documents, and managing and tracking improvements in intradepartmental programs.

Other city departments – Finance, Human Resources, Water, GIS, Fleet, Planning, and the City Manager’s Office — also made key contributions.

The process helped us better understand the risks in our community and provides a framework for us to constantly evaluate and improve our performance. In fact, to maintain our status as an accredited agency, we’re required to submit annual updates to the CFAI commission that demonstrate how we are addressing our weaknesses, measuring our improvement, and raising our standards.

We gladly accept that challenge because we know it’ll benefit our personnel and most importantly, the public we serve.

 


1010a8cAbout the Author

Stuart Marrs has been with the College Station Fire Department since 2009. He was previously a firefighter with the Huntsville (Texas) Fire Department. Stuart graduated from Texas A&M in 2006 with a degree in communications.


 

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