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In an effort to provide greater fire protection for residents of the Crest Forest Fire Protection District and surrounding communities, the County Fire Department is offering a free wood chipping program. Residents that have property located directly adjacent to the national forest in this area are eligible for the program.
One of the most effective defensive tools against the threat of wildfire is to have “defensible space” around a home. Defensible space is an area surrounding a structure that has been cleared of excess vegetation, debris and/or any other flammable materials. Having good defensible space allows fire crews a chance to more effectively defend a structure against an oncoming fire.
County Land Use Services Department, Code Enforcement Division, began weed abatement inspections on January 13 and will continue until the perimeter of the district is complete. The teams are inspecting high hazard areas adjacent to the national forest boundary for defensible space compliance. Property owners will be contacted by mail if property improvements are needed. In the mailer, a flyer will be included which will contain more information about the chipping program.
Under this program, property owners will be able to have their wood debris chipped and re-distributed back onto their property. These wood chips are far less combustible, and transition from vegetation that supports burning into wood chips that help retard the growth of a fire. The cost of providing this chipping service is being incurred by the County Fire Department.
Property owners are responsible for cutting or raking the materials and having the debris placed curbside for chipping – as no haul away will be available. It is essential that all properties in the area be treated in order to provide the best level of protection. Consequently, if a property owner does not take advantage of the free chipping program in the time frame allotted, then they will be held responsible for the clean-up and removal at their own expense. Wood chipping is scheduled to begin in February; dates and locations to be announced.
It’s not a question of if, but when, the next wildfire will occur. With advance planning and preparation, you can dramatically increase your safety and the survivability of your property. Visit www.sbcfire.org/fire_prevention_advice.aspx to learn how to make your home defensible against fires. The Ready! Set! Go! Personal Wildfire Action Plan gives you the tips and tools to successfully prepare for a wildfire.
For more information, call Land Use Services at 909-884-4056 or the Office of the Fire Marshal at 909-386-8400.
Community members and dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the new San Bernardino County Fire Station 22 in Spring Valley Lake. The ceremony kicked off with the County Fire Department Color Guard accompanied by Local 935 Pipes & Drum Band.
The new facility replaces the temporary fire station that has been serving the community of Spring Valley Lake and surrounding area for the past 21 years out of an aged and substandard single-wide trailer, with its apparatus stored in an adjacent butler building. The former station was located at the North end of Victor Valley College near the Fish Hatchery.
California Construction out of Riverside started construction on the fire station in November of 2012 and completed the station right on schedule and on budget. The 6,300 square foot facility includes an apparatus bay for two engines, living quarters, and an approximate 600 square foot equipment storage building.
This state-of-the-art facility was designed to serve the lakeside community of Spring Valley Lake. Station 22 serves over 10,000 Spring Valley Lake residents, and the Victor Valley College, the Sterling Inn & Commons and responds to incidents along the busy Bear Valley Road from the Mojave River West to Industrial Blvd. On average, Station 22 firefighters respond to over 1,800 calls for service a year, with about 1,300 of those calls being medical responses. Company 22 regularly assists the surrounding cities of Hesperia and Victorville, and the town of Apple Valley when needed. These areas also back up Company 22 as well.
On Saturday, December 7, 2013, the store management at the Home Depot in north Fontana presented a donation of 100 smoke alarms to the San Bernardino County Fire Department and the City of Fontana. Battalion Chief John Chamberlin was present to accept the donation on behalf of the Fire Department. The many children present at the event enjoyed seeing a display of fire engines, including Rescue Unit 73, as well as Sparky the Fire dog.
The donation was generously given in an effort to support a new public education program, “Preparedness in Action through Learning about Safety (P.A.L.S.)”, that is being developed for the Fontana area elementary schools. This enhanced program, scheduled to be launched in 2014, will teach school-age children such safety themes as Exit Drills in the Home (E.D.I.T.H.), smoke alarm awareness, kitchen fire safety, and others.
Adam Panos, Fire Prevention Supervisor and Fire Marshal for Fontana, is coordinating the development of the new educational program. “We are very appreciative of our community partners like the Home Depot, helping us to achieve our goal of educating our kids about fire safety,” said Panos. “The new public education program will help us get these donated smoke alarms into the hands of people that need them.”
The San Bernardino County Fire Department provides fire protection, emergency medical services and fire safety education services to the City of Fontana as well as many other cities and districts throughout the County. To learn more about fire safety, visit our website at www.sbcfire.org.
Firefighters responded to a reported residential structure fire on Holly Dr. in Victorville at about 10:40 p.m. last night. Neighbors awoke the residents and alerted them smoke was coming from their home.
Eleven firefighters and a chief officer responded within minutes and immediately conducted an interior attack, containing the fire to the attic area of the kitchen and living room of the 2,500 square foot home.
Ten adults, two children and several animals escaped without injury. Damage to the home was estimated at $30,000. San Bernardino County Fire Investigators determined the fire was caused when the chimney flue breached into the chaseway, catching the framing on fire and ultimately burning into the attic. The American Red Cross assisted the displaced family.
This is the third chimney fire in recent days occurring in the High Desert. In this incident, there were no working smoke detectors in the home. Residents are reminded to check the batteries in their smoke detectors.
Zero clearance fireplaces are designed for ambiance and not for heating purposes. Finished lumber and large amounts of wood should not be burned in these types of fireplaces.
San Bernardino County Fire reminds you to have your chimneys inspected and cleaned by a professional before each heating season and have it cleaned regularly. Excessive build-up in flues can ignite or transfer heat into the walls with devastating results. Be sure that you have a fireplace screen in a place 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. For more information on chimney fires and holiday safety tips, please go to www.sbcfire.org.
Cold weather from December through February brings the need for home heating, and sometimes for 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 county residents to keep safe while they keep warm. Following are some winter safety tips to help you stay warm safely.
Fire Safety Tips for Fireplaces & 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. Continue reading
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.
More than 100 community members and dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the new San Bernardino County Fire Station 98 in Angelus Oaks. The ceremony kicked off with the County Fire Department Color Guard accompanied by Local 935 Pipes & Drum Band.
Fire Station 98 serves over 400 residents of Angelus Oaks, Barton Flats, and Seven Oaks, along with State Highway 38 from Valley of the Falls Drive to Onyx Summit. On average, Station 98 firefighters respond to 175 calls a year, mainly medical calls and traffic collisions. They actively assist the Sheriff’s Department with search and rescues, as well as the U.S. Forest Service.
Funding for this $2,275,000 project came from the County general fund. “When the Board of Supervisors is able to support the building of much needed fire stations, it shows that the economy in our County is rebounding,” stated 3rd District County Supervisor James Ramos. “Public safety remains a priority for me and the Board. A fire station in Spring Valley Lake in the High Desert is also being built and will be completed next month.”
Pesavento Construction of Las Vegas, Nevada started construction on the 5,570 square foot facility in October of 2012. The station includes an apparatus bay, a community/training room; living quarters, and an approximate 1,200 square foot mezzanine area that can be used for storage and other future needs. Station 98 houses a fire engine, a brush engine, a brush patrol, a snow cat and a skid steer.
“This is a great day for the community of Angelus Oaks. This is really the community fire station,” stated County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig. “This tight knit community first gained fire service in the early 1970’s when the town’s people felt the need and build an apparatus bay. This is their house and I am proud to serve as their Fire Chief.”
County Fire previously served the Angelus Oaks area out of an aged and substandard fire station that was constructed over 40 years ago as a storage facility for fire apparatus. An office and training room was added to the station 25 years ago. That building has since been demolished to make way for this functional station.
More photos of the event are posted at www.sbcfire.org under latest news.
Firefighters responded to a vegetation fire in the river bottom near Cottonwood and “E” St. in the City of Victorville. Due to a Santa Ana wind event that the High Desert was under, three brush engines, one water tender, one hand crew and two Chief Officers were dispatched.
Initial units arrived within five minutes after dispatched and worked their way into the river bottom to find a large area of vegetation and trees on fire being pushed by erratic winds. With a quick attack, firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to surrounding vegetation near the original fire.
With thick and heavy vegetation found in the river bottom, engine firefighters were assisted by Glen Helen I, an inmate hand crew out of Glen Helen Detention Center. These inmates are an integral part of the firefighting capabilities in the wildland fire arena as they use hand tools and chain saws to overhaul the fire and allow engine crews to get water into deep seated areas that may still be burning below ground.
Due to the predicted Santa Ana Wind event, the San Bernardino County Fire Department had up-staffed the wind prone areas, to include the high desert communities it serves. This up-staffing allowed a swift response from personnel who were staged and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.
Several homeless individuals were seen in the area prior to fire department arrival, with one individual being detained for questioning. San Bernardino County Fire Investigators determined the fire started from an open campfire which appeared to be actively being used to cook food.
Today the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors recognized the San Bernardino County Fire Department Office of Emergency Services for recently being awarded the California Emergency Services Association (CESA) Public Safety Gold Award for its Mass Care and Shelter, Shelter Operations Compound (SHOC) Program. The CESA Public Safety Gold Award is the top award for public safety emergency management programs in the State of California.
On Thursday, October 17, 2013, Mike Antonucci, OES Emergency Services Manager and Zack Mullennix, OES Emergency Services Officer, were on hand at this year’s CESA Conference in Santa Rosa to receive the award. The CESA State Awards Committee was greatly impressed by the program and called it “an innovative and ground breaking approach to sheltering large groups”.
San Bernardino County’s SHOC Program is a collaborative effort between County Fire, multiple County departments, cities within the Operational Area, the American Red Cross and other partner agencies.
The October 17, 2013 Great ShakeOut was a success in San Bernardino County with 620,412 participants from all sectors including government, school districts, healthcare facilities, nonprofit organizations and local families.
The Great ShakeOut is a worldwide drill performed to increase awareness of earthquakes and help prepare in the event of a disaster.
All San Bernardino County departments participated in the drop, cover and hold on exercise. Some departments followed that exercise with a fire following an earthquake drill and evacuation.
The County Museum held special events the day of the ShakeOut with hundreds of adults and children from nearby schools learning about the impact of earthquakes. The 2014 Great California ShakeOut is scheduled for 10:16 a.m. on October 16, 2014.