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County Fire: Be safe with fireplaces, heating devices

Rustic Living RoomFall weather sometimes brings the need for home heating, and a little extra help from a fireplace or a space heater. Unfortunately, accidents involving fireplaces and heating equipment are a major cause of preventable home fires. County Fire urges residents to keep safe while they keep warm.  Following are some cool weather safety tips to help you stay warm safely.

Fire Safety Tips for Fireplaces and Other Heating Devices

  • Before the cold weather arrives, change furnace filters to keep equipment running efficiently and safely.
  • Place all space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, walls, curtains, or anything that burns. Make sure to turn them off when you leave home or go to bed.  Contact the Gas Company or a heating contractor if you suspect that your heater is not functioning properly.
  • Check thermostats to make sure the furnace doesn’t turn itself on before you’re ready for it, and give yourself time to check furnace vents, especially floor vents, to make sure they’re not blocked.  Furniture and drapes placed over heating vents can sometimes catch fire.
  • Never install unvented gas heaters in bedrooms or bathrooms, where the small room size poses an added danger of rapid carbon monoxide build-up.
  • Have your chimneys inspected and cleaned by a professional before each heating season and have it cleaned regularly.
  • Be sure to have a proper spark arrester on all chimney tops to prevent burning embers from blowing out of the top of the chimney and starting a fire on your roof or a neighbor’s. Screens should have openings of no more than a half-inch—a quarter-inch if you live next to a wilderness area. If you have a manufactured fireplace, check with the manufacturer for installation requirements before placing anything on top of the fireplace.
  • Never use a fireplace during high winds, especially if you have a wood shake roof.
  • Make sure tree branches are cleared at least 10 feet from the chimney opening.
  • Store paper, kindling, and other flammable material at least three feet from the fireplace.
  • Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container.  Cardboard boxes, paper bags, and plastic containers quickly catch fire.  Even apparently cool ashes may contain enough heat to ignite these containers.
  • Be sure that you have a fireplace screen large enough to block flying embers and rolling logs from escaping onto your floor.
  • Never burn trash, paper, or green wood in your fireplace.  These materials cause a combustible build-up on the lining of your fireplace that may eventually catch fire, possibly damaging the chimney and threatening your home.
  • Make sure that any fireplace fires are completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Remember, never use a charcoal-burning barbecue or heater indoors!  When burned indoors, charcoal produces deadly amounts of carbon monoxide gas that is odorless, tasteless, and invisible. Charcoal-burning devices are for outdoor use only!

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Personal protective equipment training held for healthcare workers

Ebola trainingThe County of San Bernardino has taken steps to ensure it is prepared to respond to Ebola or other infectious diseases that may arise in the county. Several hospitals and healthcare facilities in the county participated in training today on how to put on and take off personal protective equipment. The County Department of Public Health and Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency hosted the training which was opened to all healthcare workers.
The goal of the training is to provide healthcare workers an opportunity to practice steps to properly put on and take off required personal protective equipment. The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health has adopted the Cal/OSHA Aerosolized Transmissible Disease Standard, which is the highest standard currently available for healthcare workers to treat infectious patients.
“The health of our residents is always a priority and we strive to be prepared for every scenario. Bringing healthcare workers together for training is a key step in the County’s preparedness efforts”, said County Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare.
Should the Ebola virus or any other infectious disease present itself in the County, medical and public health professionals are preparing to stop the spread of the virus by isolating ill patients, protecting healthcare providers, tracing all who may be exposed to ill patients, and further monitoring of contacts if they develop symptoms.

Muscoy explosion kills 1, injures 2

muscoyexplosionFirefighters responded to numerous reports of an ‘explosion in the area’ of Gray St. in Muscoy about 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Additional reports began filtering in that a house was damaged from an explosion and people were trapped.   Upon arrival, bystanders flagged firefighters down and pointed them toward a home that was partially destroyed by the blast.  The incident was upgraded and other resources were dispatched, including the department’s heavy rescue or USAR team.

On arrival the first due engine company from station 75 in Muscoy found a rear house with severe damage.   One adult male was outside and suffering from severe burn injuries, another adult female was still inside suffering from blunt force trauma and significant head injury.  She was partially covered by debris and was extricated by the rescue team.  Both were transported to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton with critical injuries. After further checking, another adult male was discovered and found to be deceased and trapped under several tons of debris.  Firefighters would work for the next several hours to remove the debris, consisting of reinforced concrete and other material, and remove the body.

The burn injuries were incurred from the flash fire caused by the explosion. There was no fire to the structure.  The blast was so significant that the freshly paved road in the front of the surrounding homes actually buckled in several places. The home was of poor construction and also had a small basement.  This basement is where most of the damage occurred with the house collapsing into the area.

County Fire Investigators and Sheriff Investigators determined that natural gas did not cause the explosion as originally thought.  It was later determined the explosion was from illegal drug activity.

No other homes had any damage and no evacuations were necessary as the surrounding area was deemed safe.  The county fire department was assisted by the San Bernardino City Fire Department, American Medical Response and the gas company.

County Fire reminds you to make sure your home is clearly marked with address numbers and visible from the street; assisting public safety in finding your location quickly during an emergency.

Holiday season closures at County museums

sbcmuseum entryThe San Bernardino County Museum will be closed on official County holidays during this year’s holiday season. The closure dates are also in effect for San Bernardino County Museum historic sites and branches, including the Asistencia in Redlands, Agua Mansa Cemetery in Colton, the Yucaipa Adobe in Yucaipa, the John Rains House in Rancho Cucamonga, the Yorba and Slaughter Adobe in Chino, and the Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley.

The closed dates are:

  • Thursday and Friday, Nov. 27 and 28
  • Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 24 and 25
  • Wednesday, Dec. 31 and Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015

For more information about Museum hours, please visit www.sbcountymuseum.org.

Volunteers needed for 2015 Point in Time Count of the homeless

Homeless PersonThe 2015 Point-In-Time Count of the homeless will take place Thursday, Jan. 22, from 6 to 10 a.m. 

Volunteers will be grouped in teams of three and assigned to a deployment center in the city of their choice within San Bernardino County.

Team members will count homeless individuals and families in assigned areas throughout the county.

The purpose of a Point-in-Time count is to determine risk factors contributing to homelessness and understand the number and characteristics of people sleeping on the street, or in other places not meant for human habitation.

Please visit  www.sanbernardinocountyhomelesscounts.com for more information. Click here for more details.

Businesses boost participation in On-the-Job training program

Final Government Works StampThe number of businesses participating in the On-the-Job Training program offered by the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board  is on track to surpass last year’s numbers.  The On-the-Job Training program assists workers with finding employment, and reimbursing employers that hire workers who lack experience or training. The program pays up to 50 percent of a new employee’s salary, saving the company money normally spent on training.

“A small business is not an institution designed to train employees,” said Greg Hudson, president of Lifetime Solutions, a plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor located in Victorville. “If I send a new employee out with a skilled technician, the technician will to have to slow down to train the new employee, so productivity may be lost. It’s more cost-effective to recruit employees with experience.” “At the same time, finding qualified, experienced employees is challenging,” added Hudson.

The On-the-Job Training program allowed Lifetime Solutions to hire three inexperienced employees in the past year. The program eased the burden of new employee training. Hudson said the Workforce Investment Board allowed him to take a chance on people not as highly skilled who could become great employees.

The program has grown exponentially as more local businesses discover how useful it is. During the most recent program year ending in July, 259 people were placed into On-the-Job Training; which is an increase from 219 the prior year.

“This is the type of practical program our businesses are clamoring for,” said Sandy Harmsen, Executive Director of the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board. “The number of participants is up to 90 in the first three months of this fiscal year. So, clearly this is a service that is needed by our businesses.’’

The demand for the program comes from San Bernardino County’s growing industries, which covers a range of transportation, logistics, distribution, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and energy and utilities. The wide variety of positions in these areas offers options for job seekers as they search for work in demand fields.

“On-the-Job Training represents an opportunity to use our resources to solve specific challenges our businesses face, while providing well-paying positions for our residents” San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair, Janice Rutherford said.

This is an example of how Government Works.

To learn more about how On-the-Job Training can help your business, please call (800) 451-JOBS or visit www.csb-win.org.

County appoints new EDA Administrator

LarryVaupelLarry Vaupel will bring extensive experience in private and public sector economic and real estate development when he assumes the helm of the San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency on Monday.

“Larry’s background and enthusiasm will be great assets as we work to attract and retain investment in San Bernardino County and continue our work toward achieving the Countywide Vision,” said County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux, who announced Vaupel’s appointment today.

Vaupel currently serves as Economic Development Manager for City of Riverside, where he leads a team of 11 economic development and marketing professionals helping businesses create jobs.  Prior to his service in Riverside, Vaupel spent much of his career in Illinois working in city planning, real estate development, and economic development, where he served a diverse mix of urban, suburban and rural communities. Vaupel has worked in some of the fastest growing communities in the U.S. as well as established cities and public-private economic development agencies. He has also been a real estate developer and owned and managed a commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Holiday events at museum historic sites in Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga

Rains_House asistenciaSan Bernardino County Museum historic sites in Redlands and Rancho Cucamonga will celebrate the holiday season with special events on Saturday, Dec. 6.

The Asistencia in Redlands is joining with their neighbors for the Redlands Heritage Park Christmas Celebration on Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Asistencia was established in 1819 as part of the Mission San Gabriel’s Rancho San Bernardino. The ranch buildings were in ruins when they were acquired by San Bernardino County; restoration as an asistencia took place between 1926 and 1937. It is recognized as California State Historical Landmark #42. During the celebration, admission to the Asistencia (regularly $5/adult, $4/senior or military, and $2.50/child) will be half price. Visitors will enjoy tours, decorations, music, hot mulled cider, and crafts and games for children. The Asistencia is at 26930 Barton Road in Redlands; for information, call (909) 793-5402.

The John Rains House in Rancho Cucamonga will have its annual “Old-fashioned Christmas at the historic Rains House” on Dec. from 3 to 7 p.m. Guests can tour the Civil War-era house, which will be decorated for the holidays, and enjoy traditional refreshments. A donation of $3 per adult and $2 for children ages 5 to 11 is suggested. Tickets are available at the door. John Rains and his wife, Maria Merced Rains, built this fired-brick house from local clay in 1860. It is located at 8810 Hemlock. For more information, call (909) 989-4970. The Rains House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Reserve now for Santa’s pajama parties at Redlands, Apple Valley museums

Santa ClausSanta will visit families at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands at two pajama parties, Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday Dec. 6, from 6-8 p.m. A third pajama party is scheduled for the Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 6-8 p.m. Advance reservations are required for each party.

Pick one evening to bring your family to play holiday games, hear holiday stories, make winter crafts, enjoy refreshments, visit with some live animals (at the main museum), and have a photo op with Santa. You can wear your pajamas and bring your favorite teddy bear to keep you company. Please arrive by 6 p.m. to enjoy the whole party.

“Families love this program and return year after year,” said Jolene Redvale, curator of education. “Our relaxed, seasonal atmosphere gives everyone a chance to enjoy each other’s company while they take part in long-held holiday traditions including story time, snacking, craft-making and, best of all, the thrill of talking to Santa Claus himself.”

Cost is $10 per person. Under age 1 is free with paid adult. Each admission includes all holiday crafts and activities, a chat with Santa, and refreshments. Space is limited and fills quickly—only reservations with payment received by 4:30 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 3, will be eligible to register for either party at the museum in Redlands. Reservations must be received by Thursday, Dec. 11 for the event at the Victor Valley Museum. No payments will be accepted at Santa’s PJ Party, and the museum is unable to give refunds for this program. Call (909) 798-8611 with questions about the Redlands events or (760) 241-2111 for the Victor Valley Museum party. Registration forms are available at the museums or on-line at www.sbcountymuseum.org.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The Victor Valley Museum is a branch of the San Bernardino County Museum located at 11873 Apple Valley Road in Apple Valley. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcountymuseum.org. The museums are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Human resources employer forum for businesses on Nov. 12

Executive BusinessmanThe San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board will host “Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace,” an employer workshop designed to provide solutions to businesses with human resources issues.

Many employers find themselves confused by what is considered a reasonable accommodation and what is a reasonable request by an employee or group of employees. In this interactive presentation the Workforce Investment Board will discuss:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) & Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
  • Religious Accommodations
  • Dress Code Accommodation
  • Reasonable Accommodations for different leave laws
  • What to do when an employee requests a reasonable accommodation

The  workshops are from 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 12 at the East Valley America’s Job Center of California, 658 E. Brier Drive, Suite 100 in San Bernardino. Check-in is at 9:45 a.m. All employer forums and parking are free of charge; seating is limited. For more information, please contact: Maryann Acuna at 909-383-9932 or email at macuna@wdd.sbcounty.gov

To register visit http://hrworkshopnov12.eventbrite.com.

The Workforce Investment Board has partnered with the California Employers Association to provide employers in San Bernardino County with access to a free human resources hotline for questions at 1-800-399-5331.

For more information call: 1-800.451.JOBS (5627) or visit www.csb-win.org or fax your completed job order to 909-387-9880.

 

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