How Citizens (You) Can Help The Fire Service Help You
Our thanks to Will Brooks and the Lunenburg Regional & Emergency Fire Services for these useful reminders of how to help your fire service help you.
1. Be sure to have your Civic Number both visible and available in case of an emergency.
2. Take a moment to be sure you have working smoke and fire detectors and a family escape plan. Really, DO IT!
3. If you have skills related the the fire service, ask the Chief how you might help by volunteering. Not every person races into an incident. Background support is also needed.
4. Maybe you have wondered if you could be an active firefighter. Perhaps someone in your family has gone before you. Talk with someone in your local department. See if you could contribute by becoming an active member.
5. Support the fire department when it comes to needing better equipment, replacing worn out gear and generally speaking accurately about the department in your community. Given all that they do, members truly appreciate a supportive citizen and community.
6. If you are a business owner, make sure that the fire department can get access to your business. And that means quick access. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for really long periods of time until a key holder shows up, especially if it is well below freezing. Consider ways of making access instantly available to the fire department. Some people choose to use an on-site lock box. A simple key is far better than the BIG KEY (AXE) which usually causes much more damage.
7. If you are at a fire or emergency scene, stay well out of the way unless an official specifically asks for your help. It is easy to see a hoseline and think you can move it along. In many cases, that might result in you being hurt or causing the hose to go in an undesired direction. I have made that mistake. It makes some firefighters very grumpy.
8. Think ahead about what might cause a blaze at your place. How is the BBQ? Ready for use? Really? Notice any wiring which is in need of a fix? Where are the flammables stored? In the right containers? How is your place fixed for working extinguishers?
9. In the winter is your property easily accessible or does snow and ice make getting to the scene very difficult. Time does matter when an emergency is unfolding.
10. If you have a water supply, is it clear of obstructions? How about the winter months? Are you able to keep your hydrant clear if there is one near? Finding and tapping a hydrant is crucial in a large fire. Make it easier for firefighters by keeping yours clear.
11. How do you drive around a fire/emergency scene? Be sure to pull over to the RIGHT as far and safely as you can to allow emergency vehicles to pass. STOP! When the emergency vehicles have passed, slowly resume your trip. Keep your eyes open for additional rigs going to the scene but avoid going there yourself. Our curiosity seems to pull us towards fires and emergencies. Our presence there, however, can only impede the vital work firefighters and other responders must do.
12. Review your insurance to see what is covered and for how much. It is truly sad to hear a homeowner lamenting after a blaze that he/she did not realize that coverage was limited or non-existent.