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


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.


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


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…)