Fire

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

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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

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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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