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Independence Day celebrates the birth of our nation and gives us much to celebrate, but fireworks can be dangerous and should not be treated as toys. They cause blindness, maiming and even death when misused. Fireworks cause more fires on the Fourth of July than all other causes combined.
In California all fireworks that explode, shoot into the air or move along the ground are officially called “dangerous” and are illegal to possess anywhere in the state.
In unincorporated San Bernardino County possession of any fireworks is illegal. Fire and law enforcement officials will confiscate any fireworks and issue citations to the offender. If misused fireworks cause a fire, the responsible persons are likely to face criminal charges and liability for damages.
San Bernardino County Cities That Allow “Safe and Sane” Fireworks
Adelanto, Chino, Colton and Rialto, as well as specific locations in Fontana, Grand Terrace, and San Bernardino. Please call the fire departments in these cities for more information.
If you’re thinking about using fireworks this July 4th, please keep these safety tips in mind:
Consider alternatives. For example, you can watch spectacular fireworks safely at a
- Don’t allow children to use fireworks – even “Safe and Sane” ones – without adult supervision. Even “Safe and Sane” sparklers can ignite clothing easily.
- Always read and follow label directions.
- Always have water (garden hose/bucket) and a fire extinguisher within arm’s reach.
- Always place fireworks on a firm, non-combustible surface before lighting.
- Never alter fireworks.
- Never re-light “dud” fireworks.
- Never attempt to make your own. Leave the making of fireworks to the experts.
- Never point, throw or mishandle fireworks.
Fire officials will be issuing citations for the illegal use of fireworks, with fines up to $1,250 for the first offense. Property owners may be cited if they allow fireworks to be possessed, stored or used on their property.
Due to the severe fire season, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and County Fire encourage residents to partake in a locally sponsored 4th of July celebration and leave the firework displays to the experts.
To report a fire emergency: 9-1-1 Fire dispatch (non-emergency): (909) 356-3805
Have a SAFE celebration!
On Tuesday, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) produced a YouTube video about the San Bernardino County Inmate Fire Crew program because it received a 2014 CSAC Challenge Award last year and is considered a best practice in the state. The County Sheriff and County Fire departments work together to identify and train inmates to assist County Fire in fighting wildfires.
The Inmate Fire crews are available to respond to all types of emergencies, including wildfires, floods, search and rescue, and earthquakes. The crews are also busy with conservation and community service work projects, including brush abatement and wood chipping. Each inmate must pass a four-week training course that consists of classroom work. Inmates must also complete rigorous physical fitness training. Job placement for graduates in the landscaping and construction industries is also helping to reduce recidivism.
This program is an example of how Government Works.
Supervising Hazardous Materials Specialist Kristen Riegel with the County’s Office of the Fire Marshal was honored Thursday night for her role in a project that led to a reduction in fees for many county businesses.
Riegel was recognized during the Inland Empire Economic Partnership’s Second Annual Red Tape to Red Carpet Awards Reception as the runner up in the Leadership Award for Public Service Category. The IEEP’s mission includes improving the overall quality of life in the Inland Empire through education, transportation, health care, communication, and raising the standard of living in the region.
Riegel was recognized for leading a team of Hazardous Materials Specialists in completely revamping the Fire Marshal’s fee structure. One new component of the fee structure was based on risk. As a result, approximately 20 percent of regulated businesses in San Bernardino County received a reduction in their fees because they generate low amounts of toxic waste while storing small numbers of hazardous materials. These small businesses experienced the most economic benefit.
Riegel’s efforts embody the County’s job of creating a county in which those who reside and invest can prosper and achieve well-being and the Countywide Vision’s goal of establishing San Bernardino County as a model in the state where local government, regulatory agencies and communities are truly business-friendly.
With the holiday season upon us, the San Bernardino County Fire Department would like to remind you of the following holiday decorating and natural Christmas tree safety tips.
CHECK THE LIGHTS, CHECK THE CORDS
Before you put up any electrically lighted decorations, you should check the equipment to make sure it will operate safely. Check for burned-out lights, empty sockets and broken bulbs. Inspect wires carefully for breaks, fraying and damaged connections before energizing your holiday decorations. Any damaged strands of lights should be thrown out.
ARTIFICIAL OR NATURAL TREE?
Both can be enjoyed safely. If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is made of safe, fireproof materials. If your artificial tree is pre-lit, make sure you test the tree and check all electrical cords and connectors for damage, fraying or broken parts before using the tree. On a pre-lit tree, check carefully for burnt-out, broken or damaged light sockets. Damaged equipment should be replaced or repaired before using the tree.
MAKE A FRESH CUT
If you use a natural tree, make a fresh 1-inch cut at the base to open up pores clogged by sap. The fresh cut surface should be creamy-white so that the tree will be able to drink water.
PUT IN WATER
For a natural tree, choose a sturdy stand that holds at least one gallon of water. Rinse the stand with a mixture of one capful of bleach and one cup of water before inserting the tree. This rinsing reduces the growth of microorganisms that can block the tree’s ability to absorb water. If the tree is not going into the house soon after purchase, it should be stored in a bucket of water in a cool place away from wind and sun.
An average natural tree may consume between a quart and a gallon of water per day. If the water level drops below the cut end of the trunk, a seal will form and no more water will be absorbed- SO DON’T FORGET TO WATER THE TREE EVERY DAY!
MINI-LIGHTS PRODUCE LESS HEAT
Miniature lights produce less heat and reduce drying on a natural tree. Always check lights for frayed or cracked wiring and broken sockets before placing on a tree. Do not attempt to repair a worn light—throw it away! Turn off tree lights when leaving the house or before going to bed. Avoid overloading circuits. Plug no more than three light sets into a single outlet.
KEEP AWAY FROM HEAT SOURCES
Place the tree away from heat sources: heating vents, fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, T.V. sets, or sunny windows. Keep rearranged furniture away from heat sources as well. Be careful not to block a door with the tree or with rearranged furniture.
REMOVE AND RECYCLE THE TREE PROMPTLY
After the holidays, remove a natural tree from the house as soon as possible. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace; it burns too fast and is explosive! The best alternative is to RECYCLE your tree through your local city or county program.
Have an enjoyable and SAFE holiday season!
Fall 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!
Firefighters 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.
Teaching homeowners to prevent fires around their homes, training inmates to fight wildfires and working to end human trafficking are three innovative County programs honored today by the California State Association of Counties.
California State Association of Counties Associate Legislative Representative Cara Martinson appeared at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting to deliver the three 2014 CSAC Challenge Awards to the Land Use Services Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the County Fire Department, and the District Attorney’s Office.
“These awards demonstrate our County’s commitment to developing new and innovative approaches to enhancing public safety,” San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford said.
The CSAC Challenge Awards are part of a highly competitive recognition program that honors the best and most innovative among California’s 58 counties.
Firefighters responded to a report of a small plane down near the Grout Bay picnic area in Fawnskin about 10:45 a.m. today.
San Bernardino County firefighters from Station 96 in Fawnskin arrived on scene minutes later, where they located a small, single-engine aircraft that had crashed in the dry lake bed (known as Grout Bay) near the picnic area.
Firefighters were able to reach the pilot quickly, however the adult male pilot and sole occupant had already succumbed to his injuries. The pilot had taken off from the Big Bear Airport. It is unknown where the pilot was headed.
The cause of the crash is being investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, the National Transportation Bureau and the Federal Aviation Administration. The San Bernardino County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office will release the name of the deceased once proper notification has been made.
On Saturday, Oct. 11, the San Bernardino County Fire Department will host an open house event at Fire Station 71, located at 16380 Arrow Blvd. in Fontana, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Games, prizes, and snacks will be available for all as well as many other fun activities.
The event is held every year in connection with Fire Prevention Week, which has as its theme this year “Smoke Alarms Save Lives – Test Yours Every Month!” Fire Prevention Week has been observed by fire departments around the nation for decades.
Residents and families in the community will be able to get information on how to protect themselves in the event of a fire in their home, how to test their smoke alarms, demonstrations with our Fire Safety trailer on practicing exit drills in the home, and an up close tour of fire engines and our newest fire station. A limited amount of smoke alarms will be distributed at no cost to those who may have a need for them.
For information on Fire Prevention Week and home fire safety tips, please visit www.sbcfire.org.
Join over half a million people who live and work in San Bernardino County who will practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On at 10:16 a.m. on October 16 during the Great California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill.
What can you do in the next two weeks to be better prepared?
Click here for a flyer to familiarize yourself with what to do when the shaking starts.
If you, or a member of your household, are a person with a disability or have access or functional needs, Click here for other tips and things to consider during an earthquake.
Register your family here as ShakeOut participants.
Click here for more information on the ShakeOut in San Bernardino County.
Speak with your household about how to prepare, survive and recover from the next major earthquake.