Fire

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.


 

 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 

 

 

 


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.


 

 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


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.


 

 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


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.


 

 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


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.


 

 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


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…)