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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Overloaded Outlets Cause Fires

One of the leading causes of fire is misuse of electrical appliances.

Many people are under the impression that there is nothing wrong with plugging more than one appliance into a wall socket, using multiple plug adapters.

Electrical circuits in offices and at home are designed to carry a maximum load which is fire safe for the wire size. Fuses that blow and circuit breaker that shut off indicate an overload and perhaps too many appliances being used.

Overloading electrical circuits have resulted in grave consequences, causing fires that could have been prevented. However, preventing a potential fire hazards is as easy as pulling a plug.

Don't overload electrical circuits with "octopus" multiple plug adapters. These adapters can cause electrical wires to overheat, especially if several appliances are being run from the same plug simultaneously.

Replaced frayed, worn, defective or broken cords on electrical appliances and never use electrical equipment around water. Exposed wires can easily set fire to anything flammable that they contact. Or fatal current may leap through your own body, especially around water.

Disconnect electrical appliances which aren't being used, besides by doing so saves money. There is also no chance of an item overheating electrical wiring in the house if it's unplugged.

And always use appliances that carry the Underwriter Laboratory (UL) or equivalent label. These items have been tested and as long as they are maintained and used properly, pose less of a fire hazard

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brooklyn NY: A Fatal 5 Alarm Blaze

On February 19, 2011 at around 6:30 pm, that evening, a five-alarm fire response was rung out for a fire at an apartment building located in Flatbush of Brooklyn, New York at 346 East 29th Street. Nearly 200 firefighters responded to the scene to battle the blaze.

A "Defensive Mode" of fighting the fire was conducted upon arrival of NYFD fire fighting crews because conditions were just too intense on the inside the apartment building.

"Conditions changed rapidly. The fire intensified, the windows failed. Due to the heavy wind, it blew the fire in, on the members on the upper floors...a blowtorch effect. It actually chased them down the hallway," said New York City Fire Department Deputy Chief Stephen Moro.

"This was bad because of the wind," stated Fire Chief Edward Kilduff, "We had to evacuate very quickly because basically the fire chased us right down the hall and down the stairs

Strong winds fanned the flames which took 200 firefighters more than nine hours to contain.

Fire officials say 60 firefighters were treated for injuries along with 11 building residents.

A wind-whipped blaze tore like a "blow torch" through a Brooklyn apartment building, killing a retired school guidance counselor who was discovered on the top floor of apartment building several hours after the fire was extinguished. The victim, Mary Feagin, 64, was described by residents as a wonderful neighbor who had lived in the building for roughly 30 years. "She cared for everybody in the apartment, in the building. She cared for everybody in the building, for everybody's well-being. She was just a wonderful, wonderful woman," said one of the apartment tenants stated. The city medical examiner stated the cause of death is pending further testing and investigation.

A dispatching error delayed the response of a second engine company to Saturdays deadly 5 alarm fire in Brooklyn, the FDNY is launching an internal probe into the matter.

A front door to the forth-floor apartment where the fire began was left open, feed the vicious flames. The open door helped fuel the blaze causing the fire to “blowtorch” throughout the building.

Uniform Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy says the staff cuts caused delays in getting water on the Saturday night blaze in Brooklyn.

The FDNY says that an open apartment door helped fuel the blaze, and it stoked by heavey winds.

The firefighters union said the response to the fire was hampered by new city rules that put four firefighters instead of five on some trucks.

New York City officials denied that clam.

The New York City Fire Department says the 5 alarm fire spread so quickly because someone left the door open in the apartment where it stated with strong winds fanned the flames the fatal night.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but NYFD Deputy Chief Moro said it did not appear to be suspicious.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What To Do If Your Car Catches Fire?

Getting your vehicle stopped and the engine shut off is a key step in preventing engine fires from becoming uncontrollable.

Now, I've been on many a car/MVA fire incidents and they are not a pretty site as anyone that has been in one knows very well first hand. Just like any fire getting out & away from the fire to safety is the goal and most important part.

The last car fire I responded on was on a white van that upon arrival on the engine company to the scene, on the highway, we could see the vehicle driver was out and had actually got all the belongings & contents out that belong to the bussness he worked for. Unfortontally the van had errupped into a blaze which is usually the case in most car/vehicle fires if extinguishing agent isn't applied quiickly on the on set on the fire.

The following YouTube video is of a fully involved car fire with firefighters responding, arriving, and deploying handline on the scene to battle an automobile fire. This video shows an almost exact firefighting operation that I had took part in the white van fire I had fought but in this video's case its a white station wagon :

We don't focus on vehicle fires all that much as we do structural fires. I came across an article by Josh Max talking about an experience with a car fire himself. Here now is a Guest Blog Post on:

What To Do If Your Car Catches Fire

by Josh Max Correspondent, AOL Autos

(AOL Autos) Vehicle fires are one of the scariest things that can happen on the road – and they happen more often than you think. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says 33 car fires are reported every hour in the U.S., and 18 percent of all reported fires occur on a road or highway and involve a motor vehicle. One person per day died in a car fire incident between 2003 and 2005, and in 2007 there were 258,000 vehicle fires causing 385 deaths, 1,675 injuries and 1.41 billion dollars' worth of damages. Teens and young adults with driver's licenses are most likely to be involved in car fire accidents, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, and young males are victims more often than females.

These statistics, while sobering, don't mean you should worry that your vehicle is going to spontaneously combust on your drive home from work. But safe driving and regular maintenance are important to reducing your chances of being involved in one of these incidents.

The Fireball Van
My own experience with car fires happened in high school, when a friend bought a used van. He gassed it up weekly but otherwise didn't open the hood. Even when the vehicle started having problems starting, he ignored any maintenance. At least until other passengers and I noticed a burning smell.

My buddy attributed it to the odometer: The van had over 100,000 miles on it and a bit of foul odor here and there was natural, he reassured us. But when the engine began belching dense smoke, he finally pulled over. We disembarked as the cockpit filled with smoke and in about 15 minutes, the entire van was a fireball. To make matters worse, the fire wasn't covered by insurance.

That's because standard auto insurance usually doesn't cover vehicle fires, says AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair. "The only way a vehicle will be covered if it catches fire is if you have comprehensive coverage," Sinclair told AOL Autos, "If you've got an older vehicle, we tell people that after probably eight or nine years, it makes sense to drop comprehensive coverage because you'll probably be paying out more than what the vehicle is worth."

Insured or not, watching your vehicle burn by the side of the road is an experience you don't want to go through. Here are a few common-sense tips that can help prevent vehicle fires, provided by the National Safety Council:

1. If you smell burning plastic or rubber, pull over safely and investigate. Don't try to make it home before you determine what the trouble is.

2. Get in the habit of having your car tuned up and checked out at least once a year. An inspection should include examining the vehicle for gas or oil leaks. If you suspect a leak, park a newspaper under your vehicle at night and weigh it down with a heavy object; in the morning, check the paper for stains.

3. If a fuse keeps blowing, that's a sign of electrical trouble, the same as in your house. Don't let it keep happening without investigating, as an overloaded wire can be the source of a fire.

Dousing The Flames

Race car driver Tommy Kendall told AOL Autos that the best defense against a car fire is to be prepared. "If you never thought about your car catching fire, now is a good time," he said.

Most fires, Kendall said, are a result of a malfunctioning fuel line or a fuel pipe splitting. "If you smell something burning, shutting off the engine will stop the flow of fuel and may prevent a full-blown fire. It's natural to panic in an emergency, but make sure you get off the road first so you're not a hazard to other drivers, or yourself."

"In a race car, there's an onboard fire suppression unit, little pipes that run around the cockpit filled with Halon (a liquefied, compressed non-toxic gas that stops the spread of fire by chemically disrupting combustion). The rules require it. It sprays this foam -- some of it's a fire extinguisher, some of it sucks the oxygen -- mostly to keep the driver safe first, the car second," Kendall said. "But in my own passenger car, I keep a fire extinguisher in the trunk, and you should, too."

Experts counsel not to attempt to extinguish a raging car fire yourself, but there are circumstances when you can try if you have a fire extinguisher. If there is smoke coming from under your hood but no flames, you can crack the hood slightly and spray at the gap from a few feet away. Do not open the hood all the way as the increased oxygen could quickly turn a tiny fire into a big blaze.

However, if the fire is in the rear of the vehicle near the gas tank, you should get away quickly. Only a professional should attempt to douse fires of this sort.

What To Do

If your car catches fire while you are driving, the most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then follow these steps, which also apply if your car ignites in a parking lot.

1. Signal and move immediately to the right shoulder, or right lane.

2. Get the vehicles stopped and shut off the engine while getting yourself and all passengers out of the vehicle.

3. Get as far away from the vehicle as you can, at least 150 feet, but make sure the area you move to is safe and secure.

4. Dial 911, so the dispatcher can notify the fire department.

5. Warn onlookers and others to keep away, as well. If you have some signaling device, you can also attempt to warn oncoming traffic.

Josh Max is a Manhattan-based journalist who has tested and photographed every manner of 2-and-4-wheeled internal combustion vehicles since 2000. His plain -speaking New York-flavored "I love it/I hate it" reviews have appeared in the NY Daily News (over 1,000 articles) and his feature stories, hard news and first-person yarns have appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek,, and other major media. Max is also a performing musician, producer, arranger, singer and songwriter. /

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Burn Awareness Week Feb. 6-12, 2011

Winter Months Increase Fire Risk - Children Particularly Vulnerable


Each year on average 18,300 Americans are injured, and more than 3,500 die in fires, with children age 14 and under making up 10 to 15 percent of all fire deaths, according to a FEMA press release.

National Burn Awareness Week is traditionally observed the first full week in February, and according to FEMA Regional Administrator Ken Murphy, it’s the perfect calendar observance to focus on preventing fires and protecting children.

“Children under the age of 5 account for 52 percent of all child fire deaths, and home fires tend to spike in winter months, placing younger children and toddlers at even greater risk,” said Murphy. “Many children are unable to escape from fire on their own, and I encourage parents and caregivers to use National Burn Awareness Week as an opportunity to take actions that keep their loved ones, and particularly children, safe from fire and burn hazards.”

FEMA offers these tips to avoid fire and keep kids safe around the house:

• Keep children at least 3 feet from hot stoves and cooking appliances. When cooking, use back burners with pot handles turned towards the back of the stove.

• Have fireplace flues and chimneys inspected for leakage and blockage from creosote or debris.

• Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. Store ashes in fire-resistant containers; cover the container with a lid, and dispose of ashes carefully.

• Place space heaters on a floor that is flat and level. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets. Keep space heaters at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials and place them out of the flow of foot traffic. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

• Always tuck cords from appliances where children cannot reach them.

• Install smoke alarms on every level in your home, and inside and outside sleeping areas.

• Test smoke alarms each month and replace the batteries at least once a year.

FEMA recommends online resources for fire prevention and education, including materials for children. Safe Kids USA, a national network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional childhood injury, also offers fire-safety information.

FEMA's | Federal Emergency Management Agency mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Binghamtom NY: Fatal Apartment Fire, One Person Dead In Blaze

Binghamtom New York: There was a fatal morning apartment fire yesterday that resulted in a tragic loss of life to one of the nine tenants that resided in the building. One person was found dead on the second floor.

Crews were called to an apartment building at 116 Henry St around 11 a.m.. They were able to get the fire under control quickly and most of the damage was contained to the second floor.

"First arriving companies did in fact find smoke showing from the building, made a very aggressive attack inside searching for fire, did find and knock down, I'm sad to say we did have one fatality" said Binghamton Fire Chief Daniel Thomas.

It was reported that the man who died in the fire and was a tenant of the apartment building had initially exited & escaped the burning building but re-entered to help fight the fire.

Once you have exited and escape any burning structural fire you should NEVER re-enter. In the case of this fire we will never know exactly why there was a re-enter by the fire victim, but the tragic result was the loss of his life.

No firefighters were injured in the blaze and surviving tenants were not injured also.

Fire officials believe the fire started in the victim's apartment. Investigators are stll looking into what started the fire.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

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