Contents (from most recent to least recent):
December 2015: Songs Ablaze
November 2015: Autumn Chores
October 2015: Losing Your Home To Fire
September 2015: Electrical Outages
August 2015: Stuff That Hurts
July 2015: Spare Stuff/Raffle Tickets
June 2015: Evacuation: Yes or No
May 2015: Preparing For Summer
April 2015: Southwest Wildfire Awareness Month
March 2015: New Board President Andrew Cox
February 2015: The CVFD 2015 Annual Meeting
January 2015: Fire Poetry Contest Results
December 2014: Four Part Fire Dispatch
November 2014: Fire Department Role
October 2014: Heart Attack vs. Cardiac Arrest
September 2014: CVFD Update
August 2014: Fire & Natural Environments (Part Two)
July 2014: Fire & Natural Environments (Part One)
June 2014: Your Friend Electricity
May 2014: Snakes and Sticks
April 2014: Evacuation 101
March 2014: What CVFD Equipment Goes Where
February 2014: CVFD Update
January 2014: Origin of Fire
December 2013: CVFD Changes/Neighbors and Fire
November 2013: Winter Fire Concerns
October 2013: CVFD Fundraiser/Fire Prevention/Les Helfrich
September 2013: Heart Attacks
August 2013: CVFD Update/Kitchen Fires
July 2013: Heat Injuries
June 2013: Free Home Fire Assessments
May 2013: Summer Fire Safety
April 2013: Fire Department Comparison: Cascabel vs. Lumbini
March 2013: Fire Safety in the Home Made Easy
February 2013: Young Children and Fire
January 2013: Hypothermia
December 2012: Fire Poetry
November 2012: Smoke Alarms
October 2012: CVFD Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How
September 2012: All About 911
August 2012: Arizona Poison Control
July 2012: Las Minutes Instructions For Evacuation
June 2012: Animals and Evacuation
May 2012: Preparing For Fire Season
Fire Dispatch: December 2015
Songs Ablaze and Raffle Items
Fire has many connotations. For most structural fire fighters, house fires are bad and should be put out as quickly as possible. For fire ecologists, wildland fires are often good because most ecosystems need fire in order to remain healthy. And for song writers? Used as a metaphor, fire/smoke/burning/lightning has played a major role in music over the years. Here is just a small percentage of fire inspired songs (most of which can be heard on You-Tube if you want to take a listen):
“An Old Flame Never Dies” by Tommy Dorsey (1937)
“I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire” by The Ink Spots (1941)
“Don't Burn the Candle at Both Ends” by Louis Jordan (1948)
“Kiss of Fire” by Georgia Gibbs (1952)
“Redwood Smoke” by Vaughn Monroe (1953)
“Burn That Candle” by Bill Haley and His Comets (1955)
“Smokestack Lightnin’” by Howlin' Wolf (1956)
“Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis (1957)
“I'd Rather Be Burnt as a Witch” by Eartha Kitt (1959)
“I Burned Your Letter” by Ruth Brown (1960)
“Blue Fire” by Steve Alaimo (1960)
“My Heart's on Fire” by Billy Bland (1961)
“Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash (1963)
“Where There's Smoke There's Bound to Be Fire” by Clyde Moody (1964)
“Light My Fire” by The Doors (1967)
“Play With Fire” by The Rolling Stones (1965)
“Fire” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)
“Brushfire” by The Emotions (1968)
“Fire and Rain” by James Taylor (1970)
“Jump Into the Fire” by Nilsson (1971)
“The Night Miss Nancy Ann's Hotel for Single Girls Burned Down” by Tex Williams (1971)
“Burning Love” by Elvis Presley (1972)
“Fires Which Burnt Brightly” by Procol Harum (1973)
“She Burnt the Little Upside Tavern Down” by Johnny Russell (1974)
“Building Fires” by Flying Burrito Brothers (1975)
“Fire on the Mountain” by The Marshall Tucker Band (1975)
“Don't Let the Smokey Mountain Smoke Get in Your Eyes” by The Osbornes (1975)
“The Fire Down Below” by Bob Seger (1976)
“Don't Let the Flame Burn Out” by Jackie DeShannon (1977)
“Baby, I'm Burning” by Dolly Parton (1979)
“A Bridge That Just Won't Burn” by Conway Twitty (1980)
“Burnin' for You” by Blue Oyster Cult (1981)
“I'm on Fire” by Bruce Springsteen (1984)
“Burning Down The House” by Talking Heads (1984)
“Paper in Fire” by John Mellencamp (1987)
“Burnin' Old Memories” by Kathy Mattea (1989)
“We Didn't Start the Fire” by Billy Joel (1989)
“Into the Fire” by Sarah McLachlan (1991)
“Burn Me Down” by Marty Stuart (1992)
“Circle of Fire” by Sam Phillips (1994)
“Kitchen Fire” by Timbuk 3 (1995)
“Feed the Fire” by Steppenwolf (1996)
“Fire in Winter” by Tish Hinojosa (2000)
“He's a Keeper of the Fire” by Buffy Sainte-Marie (2000)
“Ashes to Ashes” by Steve Earle (2002)
“We're Burnin' Moonlight” by Riders in the Sky (2002)
“World on Fire” by Sarah McLachlan (2004)
“Fire Hazard” by Abel Mouton (2006)
“Fire in the Desert Sky” by Dale Sanders (2006)
“Picture to Burn” by Taylor Swift (2008)
And now a reminder about raffle items:
As mentioned last month, yes, high quality raffle items are needed for the fair. After all, only one lucky person will win the quilt, but a whole bunch of other people can go home happy. Please do what you can to locate suitable prizes. You can bring them over to Barbara Clark at the Clayworks at any time during the week before the fair. You know the old saying, “A good raffle prize really is all it’s cracked up to me.” Well, it’s true. Even if the old saying isn’t necessarily worded like that, exactly.
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch: November 2015
Autumn Chores (and Raffle Items)
As JP Roads made clear in the October Fire Dispatch concerning his experiences losing his home to fire, it’s time for many of us to get to work in order to protect our property and, perhaps, our lives. Here are some suggestions. Probably everyone needs to do one or two or three.
Cut back. Cut waaaayyyyyyyy back:
Everyone has a different amount of rain this summer but, for most of us, it was a pretty good year. You probably enjoyed it, and the vegetation on your property undoubtedly did. Some of that vegetation might have grown considerably. Now it’s time to cut back. Why? Here are some reason:
1) In the event of an emergency, you want to be sure that emergency vehicles can make it to your house
2) In the event of a wildfire, you want to decrease the possibility that the fire will spread from plant to plant to plant to. . . your house! Give your house a fighting chance by cutting the vegetation way back around the house and out-buildings. Reread JP Roads’ comments in the October 2015 Fire Dispatch if you need some motivation.
Have YOU got a FLUE?
Sure, it was a pretty warm year last year. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a creosote build-up in your flue. This is especially the case if you didn’t clean it out last year, either. Now’s a great time to get to work. Use a chimney brush and scrub away. Don’t forget to clean out the stove or fireplace when you’re done.
While you’re at it, remember that, if you heat with wood, you are best off not stacking it right by the house. Best to give yourself at least thirty feet.
1) Clear out the vegetative matter than may have collected under the house, in your gutters, or in crevices. Remember, that stuff can catch and burn. And, if it burns, your house might catch on fire, too.
2) If you heat your home with electrical heaters, now is a great time to check the cords and make sure they are not frayed or damaged in any way.
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch: October 2015
Losing Your Home To Fire
What is it like to lose your home in a wildfire? I recently contacted JP Roads to ask about his experience. As a fire professional, he is especially knowledgeable about what happened when, in 2003, he lost his home.
Please say something about who you are and where your home was that burned.
I am currently a fire chief of a private contract fire company. I contract with the State of Arizona and USFS to respond as needed to assist in fighting wildland fires. My specialty is structure protection. I used to be the fire chief on Mt. Lemmon (1994-2001) where I lived until the 2003 Aspen Fire burned the Summerhaven village and my home.
What was the experience of losing your home like for you?
Having been the WUI [Wildland Urban Interface] community fire chief, I always knew that losing the community to fire was a possibility. We preached the conditions for years, warning the community of the pending disaster. No one wanted to listen. The experience of losing my home was far worse than I had ever expected. I lost everything. I was on the Aspen Fire, and I reached my house about 4 hours after the fire swept through the village. The chimney stood alone over a large pile of ash. I was in disbelief.
That night I slept on the ground in the forest, sick to my stomach and feeling totally homeless. For about 3 months, I felt like there was a pipe shoved into my gut, just below the rib cage. I had nightmares about people stealing my belongings which no longer existed. I also felt a lot of anger towards the community for their failure to stop the fire. The community wanted to sue the forest service. I wanted to sue the community. When I told that to one woman, she asked why and stated that they [the community] didn't do anything. I agreed and stated that they should have. I told them up to 8 years earlier to do something. The fuel load in the village wasn't the forest service's problem or fault.
Was there anything you could have done beforehand (to either protect the home or to prepare yourself emotionally) that would be useful for people to know?
My home was old and not built with fire in mind. I had my property thinned, and was in the process of adding a foundation to my home. I also wanted to replace the dilapidated porch. However, mother nature was faster. The properties downhill from my house hadn't been thinned in 50+ years. The fire rolled up the hill, blasted my place, ignited the floors underneath and burned straight to the ground. My asbestos siding couldn't prevent the heat wave. One other property where we had thinned was the only place on that hill to survive. All the trees on that property also survived while the rest of the neighborhood was a moonscape. We had only removed 3 out of 20 trees on that property and did some trim work. It doesn't take much.
I had a good set of photos from inside the house. One of the hardest tasks after the fire was when the insurance company (yes I was lucky to still have insurance) required that I list every item in the house. My mind could not handle that until I looked at the photos. Go away for a week, and then from memory, list every item in your house? That was a very painful process that took me days to complete. On occasion, even 12 years later, I still think of something that was not on my list. Emotionally, I thought I was prepared. Boy was I wrong.
How do you feel about the fire fighters who tried to protect your home?
I was there. Fire burns based on a combination of fuel, weather and topography. All 3 were lined up for disaster. All 3 being lined up happens annually here is AZ. There was nothing firefighters could do about it, other than risk sure death and no home is worth a firefighter's life. The fuel loading in the village was a 1000% of what it should have been. Nobody can stop that amount of fire.
Is there anything else you can think of to say to the residents of Cascabel?
Folks kept saying that it wouldn't happen here in Summerhaven. It happens elsewhere, not here. Humans are nothing but ostriches sticking their heads in the sand. Everyone was warned. Nobody would do anything to protect the community. Humans do not like to foresee danger. They don't want to hear about it. There is also always the idea that it was someone else's fault. Our community burned ONLY because the homeowners failed to take any action to prevent it. FUELS cause the community to burn.
Like I said, fire is based on FUEL, OXYGEN, and HEAT. Wildfire burns based on FUELS, WEATHER and TOPOGRAPHY. We have no control over oxygen - that is why we live under the big blue sky. We cannot eliminate all heat (lightning, kids with matches, arsonists, drunk or ignorant campers, hot automobiles, power lines). We cannot control weather - we can barely predict it. We cannot change the topography. WE CAN ONLY CONTROL THE FUELS. No matter what the other conditions, fire cannot burn through anything without an over abundance of FUEL. Fire doesn't flow like water, it burns a fuel until the next fuel is hot enough to ignite. Thin fuels with fire breaks stops the movement of fire.
In Arizona, natural fuel types are always ready to burn (hot and dry) in the early summer. There can be no surprise when a fire gets going. Putting your head in the sand will not stop it. Firefighters cannot stop it. Only fuels reduction can stop it, and fuels reduction cannot be accomplished by the firefighters while the fire is burning. By the time the fire starts, fuels reduction is too late. Fuels reduction needs to be an ongoing, all year long, every year process. If you want to live in the wildland, learn it and protect from it. People always take action to prevent rattlesnakes from entering the property, but no one wants to take precautions to stop fire from entering the property. Both are natural occurrences.
I make my living fighting fires that should never happen. If you want to be safe from fire, then you will have to put me out of business. Reduce the fuels and I will quit. I make a living based on the ostrich syndrome. You fail to protect your properties, you lose, but I make money.
On behalf of the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department and the folks of Cascabel, I would like to thank JP Roads for sharing his story. Some of us have some work to do! Thanks, Mr. Roads, for making it so clear why that work needs to be done. . . done now. . . and done regularly!
And now a little bit about the raffle:
Let’s talk raffle items!
Yes, high quality items are needed as raffle prizes, so this might not necessarily be an opportunity to finally clean out your shed. But take a look around your house and find the gifts you’re received that, okay, were not quite your style but that someone else might love. Call the people you know who have businesses and see if they would like to donate goods or services. Gift certificates are great! And, if you lean towards the artistic, please consider creating something wonderful. The time to bring over all the raffle items to Barbara Clark at the Clayworks is the week before the fair, so there is no rush. But everyone know the old saying, “The early bird brings in the most raffle items and is greatly appreciated by all of Cascabel.” Well, it’s true. Even if the old saying isn’t necessarily worded like that, exactly.
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch: September 2015
Electrical Outages (and Raffle Ticket Update)
If you’re like most people, when the electricity went off on August 12th, you figured it would be back on in a minute or two. If so, as you might remember, you were wrong! It was off for around sixteen hours. Although our outages are mostly related to inclement weather, they really are impossible to predict, both in relation to when they’ll come and how long they will visit with us. The best thing to do is to be prepared and be smart. Here are some suggestions:
1) Conserve your cool! Do not open up the refrigerator or freezer if at all possible. Even if you have an almost irresistible urge to attack that gallon of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream in the freezer, desist! The refrigerator and freezer’s cool will last an awful lot longer if you don’t open up that door.
2) Think water! If your well continues to supply water even when the electricity is off (until the pressure tank is empty), start filling up containers. Whether your well works this way or not, it’s a great idea to always have a few gallon jugs of water (at least) sitting around in the house for just such purposes. Remember, though, to cycle through that water every once in awhile, so it is fresh enough for drinking purposes when you need it. And don’t forget: it’s not just the humans that get thirsty. There are your pets and your plants to consider, too. As for washing, cleaning, and flushing when the electricity is off, cut way back on it. Way WAY back. You probably do more than you need of that, anyway, and you don’t want to waste what may be a limited amount of your most important natural resource.
3) Buy some stuff! There are things that you can purchase beforehand that may make life a lot easier in cases of long electrical outages. If you don’t have the following, consider making a purchase:
A) A back-up telephone that doesn’t require electricity. Check the local thrift stores in Benson or Tucson. You just might be able to find one cheap. Remember, if your current phone requires electricity, during a blackout, you not only can’t call your Aunt Lucille to find out how her pet Chihuahua is doing. You also can’t call 911 or your neighbors for help.
B) A backpacker’s water purifier or some water purification tablets. Especially if you live near where the San Pedro runs most or all of the time, you can take care of your drinking water needs fairly easily.
C) A portable generator. . . yes, you can create your own electricity. Just make sure you keep your generator well maintained and that you have a supply of the appropriate kind of fuel on hand.
4) Don’t forget: we’re a community! In the event of another outage, your neighbors may ask you for assistance, and they may ask how they can assist you. That’s how it should be. And planning helps. So, before the next outage, invite the neighbors over, share some of your secret stash of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream with them, and discuss how you can work together. Find out who has a generator, who has been water harvesting, and whose phone will function. You’re not only allowed to work together, it’s actually encouraged!
And Now. . . A Raffle Ticket Update:
There have been several complaints received concerning that not enough information has been provided to the community concerning selling raffle tickets for the quilt.
Okay, just kidding!!!
So far, ticket sales have been good. . . but not yet great. Fortunately, there is plenty of time to turn this situation around. Here are some things you can do in order to have this year’s raffle be the most successful ever.
1) Sell tickets to your friends, neighbors, relatives, business associates, and strangers on the street. You can get tickets from Lucy Blair, Barbara Clark, or Bob Evans.
2) Go to an official ticket selling event, sell tickets, and have fun! Sierra Vista’s Art in the Park is all day on October 3rd and 4th (Bob Evans is the lead), Butterfield Days in Benson is all day on October 10th and 11th (Lucy Blair is the lead), and the Pit Fire Festival between Bisbee and Douglas is the evening of October 22nd. (There is no lead yet. It could be you! If you have an interest in going, contact Lucy Blair or Alex Binford-Walsh, both of whom are already signed up to go). And if none of those dates work, you can also contact the Safeway in Benson and ask for permission to set up a table there for both raffle ticket selling and cookbook selling fun.
Public Information Officer, CVFD
Fire Dispatch August 2015
Stuff That Hurts
The good news: Dangerous though they can be, Puffer Fish, Poison Dart Frogs, Inland Taipan Snakes, Komodo Dragons, Brazilian Wandering Spiders, Stonefish, Tse Tse Flies, Boomslang Snakes, Blue-Ringed Octopuses, Bullet Ants, Marbled Cone Snakes, Sydney Funnel Web Spiders, Box Jellyfish, King Cobras, Cone Snails, Black Mamba, and Duck-Billed Platypus are all not native to Cascabel.
The bad news: Lots of other poisonous/venomous critters are native, and you’ve probably seen some of them this summer. The list includes but is not limited to: Rattlesnakes, Velvet Ants, Gila Monsters, Coral Snakes, Black Widows, Scorpions, Bees, Wasps, Burn Worms (aka the caterpillar of the Buck Moth) Giant Desert Centipedes, Conenose Bugs (aka Kissing Bugs), Sonoran Desert Toads, Scorpions, Tarantula Hawks, and Blister Beetles.
Each year, you have to re-teach yourself to be extra special careful at the beginning of the warm season in order to avoid close encounters of the unpleasant kind. Hopefully, you’ve been doing a good job of keeping yourself, your family, and your pets safe. Whatever you do, don’t stop now! You may be ready for the heat of summer to be over, but it isn’t done with us yet. Keep those eyes and ears open, don’t put your hands where you can’t see, and use a light when you go out at night so you don’t have any unfortunate surprises that may cause pain to both the body and the bank account.
By the way, what’s the difference between venomous and poisonous? People tend to use the words interchangeably, but there is a difference. Both venomous and poisonous animals produce a toxin that can hurt or kill human beings (and other living things). However, venomous animals deliver their toxin with the use of a fang, a stinger or other such apparatus. The toxin is generally located on their body near that apparatus. On the other hand, poisonous animals hold their toxin in most or all of their bodies. They have to either be touched or eaten (depending upon the system employed) in order to deliver their toxin direct to you.
In the event that something does make close, personal contact with you and you have any kind of concern—but it does not reach the need for an ambulance or medical personnel—do your best to take note of what the critter looked like and call Poison Control at 800-222-1222. They are staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and they can help you decide what kind of care you need to reduce pain and swelling. So, write that phone number down in your new Cascabel phone book right now. It never hurts to prepare for being hurt.
And about them raffle tickets?
They are hot off the presses and ready to go. No, you don’t have to wait until November to sell raffle tickets in order to raise money for the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department, the Cascabel Garden Group, and the Cascabel Community Center. You can start now! Lisa Vogel, Bob Evans, and Barbara Clark, for instance, attended the Garlic Festival in Dragoon the last weekend in July, and they made $232 in raffle ticket sales pretty much just by showing up and smiling! Contact Lucy Blair (firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Clark (email@example.com), or Bob Evans (REvans9173@aol.com) to get your tickets. Admit it: you’d love to win that beautiful quilt. And, if you don’t win, wouldn’t it be great if one of your friends or family members got it? Don’t deprive them of this opportunity! Buy and sell tickets now!
And what about them cookbooks?
Guess what else is ready for purchase? Yup, it’s the first ever Cascabel Cookbook. The above mentioned team at the Garlic Festival also sold five cookbooks there to raise money for the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department! You can get your copy for only $10.00 by contacting one of the following neighbors:
Annie Wilkinson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Troutner: email@example.com
Amy Foreman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn Ffolliott: email@example.com
Bob Evans: REvans9173@aol.com
Gail Loveland: firstname.lastname@example.org
You’re probably already feeling an intense case of YUM just from thinking about all those delicious recipes!
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch: July 2015
Spare Stuff/Raffle Tickets
Got spare stuff?
Maybe you’d like to donate it to the CVFD! Of course, the department doesn’t need your can of certified unicorn meat or that rusty UFO you dug out of your backyard last year. Here are the things we’re looking for:
Size AA batteries
Tow chains or tow straps
Rolls of flagging
Jack and lug wrench
Mobile radios with 154.280 capability
First aid kits
Rations: MRE’s (Meals ready to eat) or equivalent
Vehicle maintenance tool kits
If you’ve got any of these items and would be willing to make a donation, please contact Chief Lucy Blair at email@example.com so she can determine if they are the right size/shape/kind. If they are, she’ll arrange to pick them up and thank you big time in the process.
And now. . . about the raffle. . . .
What raffle you ask? The one for the Arizona Skies quilt, of course, that some lucky person will win Sunday, December 6th at the Cascabel Fair.
Do you know that we can make an unlimited amount of money for the Cascabel Garden Group, the Cascabel Community Center, and the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department through selling raffle tickets? Well, we can! That’s because the quilt and other assorted prizes don’t cost more in relation to how many tickets we sell. So, we’re talking pure profit.
And selling raffle tickets is fun. Sure, it can be a little hard asking your family and friends to yet again support our community. But it is EASY to ask strangers at a fair or public event. And you will have our beautiful 2015 Arizona Skies homemade quilt with you. . . the best selling point ever in the history of advertising.
Here’s how it works:
We need one lead for each of the events listed below. Don’t worry: many of those slots are already filled. It is up to the lead concerning how to manage everything, but basically here’s how it goes:
Two people are needed for set-up the larger events (when set-up is required the day before).
Three to four people at a time are needed during the actual selling for the larger fairs and, perhaps, two or three for the smaller events. Here is the list of where we are selling raffle tickets (so far) and who (so far) is involved:
Garlic Festival in Dragoon 7/25 and 7/26 (all day)
Lead: Lisa Vogel
Assisting set-up (two needed) 7/24: Lisa Vogel,
Ticket sellers (four needed) 7/25: Lisa Vogel,
Ticket sellers (four needed) 7/26: Lisa Vogel,
Art in the Park in Sierra Vista 10/3 and 10/4 (all day)
Lead: Bob Evans
Assisting set-up (two needed) 10/2: Bob Evans,
Ticket sellers (four needed) 10/3: Bob Evans,
Ticket sellers (four needed) 10/4: Bob Evans,
Butterfield Days in Benson 10/10 and 10/11 (all day)
Lead: Lucy Blair
Ticket sellers/set up (three needed) 10/10: Lucy Blair,
Ticket sellers (three needed) 10/11: Lucy Blair,
Pit Fire Festival at Cochise College-Douglas 10/22 (2pm to 9pm)
Set-up/Ticket Sellers (three to four needed): Lucy,
Safeway in Benson days/times to be determined
Various leads: open
Set-up and Ticket Sellers (two to twenty needed): Lucy (one day),
If there is enough enthusiasm in the community for selling raffle tickets at fairs, we can consider also going to the Festival of the Arts at Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David on November 14th and 15th.
Keep in mind that we’re not only selling tickets for the Arizona Skies Quilt when we go to these events. We will also advertise our own fair. A lot of people already know about the Cascabel Fair, but you know what? There are actually some people out there who have never heard of it. Go figure. And the kinds of people who go to the above mentioned events are exactly the kind who would love our fair, too.
Please contact me (Lisa) if you have questions or are ready to sign up. And, just a hint. . . you can sign up with a husband or wife. You can sign up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. You can sign up with a parent or child. You can sign up with a brother or sister. And you can sign up all by yourself and then enjoy the company of the others who also want to join in on the fun.
Thanks some more!
Public Information Officer, CVFD
Fire Dispatch: June 2015
Evacution: Yes or No?
Thanks to EVERYONE who came to our May 2nd fundraiser at our new fire station! Special thanks goes out to:
Sleeping Frog (for food and cooking and good cheer)
Andy Smallhouse (for the beef)
Anna Keene (for the goat meat)
The American Red Cross (for their presentation)
The helicopter crew from AirEvac (for their helicopter presentation!)
Sundance Fire (for a whole bunch of this and that)
Julie Rogers (for her presentation and her donation of the beautiful books for the raffle)
Chief Lucy Blair (for the organizing the fundraiser and a whole lot more)
And everyone who donated their hard earned cash. . . $862.05 was raised!!!
Photographs of the fundraiser can be seen on the CVFD website (cascabelvfd.weebly.com), at the bottom of the “about” page.
Now, about evacuation. . . if you were at the fundraiser, you heard Julie Rogers talk about this and, hopefully, picked up one of her flyers. If you weren’t there, you can go to the community center and look at the table in the back (between the bookcases). At the moment, at least, you’ll be able to find her flyers and a lot more fire information there.
Julie made an excellent point during her talk. In the case of a wildfire, it is not always wise to evacuate. Why not? Because, depending upon the circumstances, your chances of survival will sometimes be better at home. That’s right: evacuation isn’t always the answer if the fire is really close. It depends upon your home, your section of road, and your location in relation to the fire.
Here are some things you’ll need to consider (almost all of which has been stolen from Julie’s information):
How much of a safety zone do you have around your structure? Have you been keeping the trees and brush trimmed back? How close to the house is your firewood? Your propane tank? Your slash/junk pile? Do you live in the thick of the bosque or up in the hills where the natural vegetation is much lighter? How windy is it around your place (in general and that particular, day)? Do you have a large parking area or irrigated pasture nearby you can go to? All of these factors and many more will help determine how safe it is for you to stay home. So, take a look now and evaluate.
Your section of road:
Can Cascabel have a traffic jam? You bet! And not just the weekend of the fair, either! Imagine everyone is evacuating due to a fire at the same time. That probably means a whole bunch of people are travelling in the same direction, and some of us are going to be a whole bunch scared. Maybe our minds are going a thousand miles a minute and. . . boom! One of us crashes and, possibly, completely blocks the road. Or else, no one crashes, but there are lots of emergency vehicles coming from the other direction, and we have to keep pulling over to let them by. There may be heavy smoke making visibility very limited. The fire could be on both sides of the road and, in some locations, that could mean NO ONE can get through. Think Phoenix has bad traffic jams? This could be a lot worse.
The location of the fire:
A lightning strike can happen anywhere. This includes your backyard. Sometimes there is no time for evacuation. How much no time? Absolutely NO time. If you are not certain you can out-drive the fire, you may be safer in the house than in the car. No guarantees with something like this, right? But your house has more air in it to keep you cool enough to survive than your car does. That means much more space and protection between you and the flames.
Now, please don’t get confused about this sort of thing. If a sheriff’s deputy knocks on your door, tells you the whole area is being evacuated and the fire is estimated to make it to your little section of paradise in two hours, then go—unless you are trained, equipped, and prepared to stay and defend your own home. Check with CVFD Chief Lucy Blair about what you would need to be truly prepared. However, if you need to evacuate, two hours is enough time for you to make it out safety. It’s when you have only just five or ten minutes that you might have to reconsider evacuating. As with everything fire related, it is best to prepare beforehand. So, take a look around your place now and start imagining what could happen. You’ve probably got some work to do to make it as safe as possible so, if the worst happens and the fire is three minutes away, you and your loved ones have a reasonable chance of survival.
Public Information Officer, CVFD
CVFD Website: cascabelvfd.weebly.com
CVFD email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fire Dispatch May 2015
Preparing for Summer: Multiple Choice Quiz
Are you ready for summer? Take this simple multiple choice quiz and, if need be, get to work!
What, if anything, should you do in relation to the fact that we had a relatively wet winter followed by more substantial plant growth than we’ve seen for the last bunch of years?
a) Me? I should stay home and play video games. It’s a jungle out there. And some of that new growth has obnoxious spines that travel through clothes and into my skin, where they burrow in. Ouch!
b) No worries. We just had some April rain, after all. The ground is still pretty moist, and everyone knows that wet vegetation burns slower than dry vegetation. Our chances of having a roaring inferno this year are just about zero.
c) Don’t be a bozo-head! That vegetation is drying out quick and, with the right amount of wind, it will burn right now. You probably have a lot more vegetation around your house than usual. Cut down those branches! Get rid of those grasses! Clear a safe zone around your house and out-buildings to give yourself a fighting chance in the event a fire does come roaring through our community this year.
How prepared should you be, right now, to evacuate in case of emergency?
a) Due to the nature of our topography, even if there is a fire I’ll have plenty of time to prepare my evacuation because the fire will most likely travel down the river, so there is no need to plan in advance.
b) Golly gee willikers. . . you think I live in the Taj Mahal? It’ll only take me a moment to grab my Boy Scout UFO Sighting Merit Badge and head out the door.
c) Don’t be a bozo-head! There are many recommended items you should bring along in case of evacuation. These include:
1) lots of drinking water, 2) non-perishable packaged or canned food (with a non-electric can opener), 3) a change of clothing including sturdy shoes, blankets or sleeping bags (and camping gear if you will camp out), 4) a first aid kit and prescription medications, 5) an extra pair of glasses (especially if needed for driving), 6) credit cards and cash, 7) an extra set of car keys, 8) names of family physicians and hospitals in the area you are evacuating to, 9) list of important medical information (i.e. medical issues, allergies, and how to reach next of kin), 10) cell phone and charger, 11) assorted sanitary items (towels, toilet paper, etc.), 12) pets and pet items, 13) important papers (driver’s license, etc.), and, yes, 14) cherished mementoes such as your Boy Scout UFO Sighting Merit Badge.
All that takes time to pack. If you can prepare by having as much as possible set aside in an easy to reach location beforehand, you’ll save lots of time. And you may very well need to save time. Don’t be so sure you’ll have plenty of advanced notice. Sure, some fires start miles away. But lightning can strike your property just as easily as it can strike anyone else’s.
Okay, I admit it. I need to learn a lot in order to prepare for the upcoming fire season. What a shame that there is no opportunity to learn what I need at the CVFD BBQ fundraiser from 12-4pm on Saturday, May 2nd at the new fire station located near 4212 N Cascabel Road. . . right?
a) That’s right. It will just be a fantastic opportunity to hang out with your buddies and enjoy yourself.
b) That’s right. It will just be a fantastic opportunity to devour yummy-in-the-tummy BBQ.
c) Don’t be a bozo-head! That fundraiser is going to be chock-full of knowledgeable people and organizations that can help get you up to speed on what you need to know.
Currently scheduled . . .
The Red Cross
Julie Rogers (who will give a short talk on fire ecology)
In addition, there will be information about . . .
Cochise County’s Emergency Notification System
Being Ember Aware
Personal disaster preparedness
Our own fire truck C-10
Not only that but . . .
Yes, you’ll get to hang out with your buddies and eat BBQ, too.
So? See you there!
Public Information Officer, CVFD
Fire Dispatch April 2015
Southwest Wildfire Awareness Week
Bet you didn’t know that March 29th to April 4th is Southwest Wildfire Awareness Week. The theme for this year is: Where We Live, How We Live . . . Living With Wildfire.
In the old days, of course, the idea was to put out all wildfires as soon as possible. We’ve come a long way since then. First of all, we recognize that not all wildfire CAN be quickly put out (at least not before it has done an incredible amount of damage). So, part of what homeowners need to consider is how to mitigate the potential danger. Secondly, we now also recognize that it is the previous putting out of fires that has caused the fire risk to be as bad as it is now in many parts of the United States. If you let the fuel load build up, it stands to reason the fire will be hotter and more dangerous when it does inevitably come. So, live with fire we must. That part is not under our control. We can, however, improve our odds.
The first thing we need to do is to stay informed. One of the easy ways to do it is to take a look at the Southwest Coordination Center’s website at http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/ You can get great information about what is going on in relation to fire in our part of the country.
You may also want to get into action. That starts with education and it ends with . . . a little bit of work. Okay, in some cases, maybe a medium-sized amount of work. Here’s a good way to start: http://www.wildlandfire.az.gov/prevention_news.asp This page covers a whole bunch of stuff you can do in relation to protecting your home, use of equipment and vehicles, target shooting, fireworks, smoking, and camping/picnicking.
Also, you can find out about the Southwest Area’s Monthly Fire Outlook at http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/predictive/outlooks/monthly/swa_monthly.pdf Remember all that rain we had this winter? Guess what? It produces a bumper crop of vegetation, and all that growth is already starting to dry out. Will this turn into a bad fire year? Take a look at this website to see what the current predictions are.
Staying informed doesn’t guarantee that bad stuff won’t happen. But you know what? It really could help. And if you need help getting motivated, take a listen to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3PhVQmRdKk
Public Information Officer CVFD
Fire Dispatch: March 2015
New Board President Andrew Cox
Who was that guy who ran for the board at the January CVFD annual meeting? He’s our new CVFD Board President Andrew Cox!
You might not have had a chance to meet the new CVFD Board President yet, or you might have seen him around but still not know much about him. With our new chief Lucy Blair living all the way at the southern end of our district, it’s only right that our new board president lives at the way northern edge and the rest of the board members lived scattered in between. Now we really represent the whole area! Here’s a little bit about Andrew Cox in his own words:
I was born in Paris Texas, and moved to Roselyn, New Mexico when I was five. That’s where I grew up. I left at the age of eighteen to go to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. I continued living in New Mexico for the next seventeen years. During that time, I worked at farming and ranching, got married, and had two kids. A little over three years ago, I moved to Arizona to work for the Smallhouses. Now I am the manager of the A7 Ranch, primarily dealing with cattle.
My goals for the CVFD include the following:
1) More emergency medical training.
2) Work on maintaining the equipment and get rid of that which we don’t need anymore.
3) Make sure the department is financially stable.
4) Meet the needs of the community in all ways possible.
So, the next time you see CVFD Board President Andrew Cox, please go say hello to him. Not sure what he looks like? You can find out at the CVFD website: http://cascabelvfd.weebly.com/
Click on the “about” page and scroll down to the second photo on the right. He’s the guy sitting in the middle, looking like he’s ready to get to work!
Did you know that we were going to get all that rain at the end of January? If you had signed up for WENS, you would have known that we might have even have gotten as much as four to seven inches. Then you would have thought to bring more wood inside, so you would have had plenty of dry wood to burn and keep yourself warm.
So, yes, WENS is pretty handy. But what is WENS, you ask? It is the Wireless Emergency Notification System, and it is designed to send you automatic email, text, or voice messages concerning emergency situations right here in Cochise County. You can sign up for all of Cochise County or just the parts you are most interested in. All you have to do is go to https://www.cochise.az.gov/ Then click on “Emergency Alert Notifications Registration” in the bottom right hand corner and sign up.
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch: February 2015
The 2015 CVFD Annual Meeting. . . .
First of all, thanks are in order. And how!
To Neal Rudikoff for running the CVFD election!
To the Food Group (Annie Wilkinson, Anna Keene, Louisa Forman, Amy Forman, and Lucy Blair) for providing the food!
To everyone in the Community who came and ate and listened and voted. . . three times (twice for chief and once for the board)! Yup, if you came to the meeting, you had to work for your meal!
To everyone in the Community who couldn’t make it but whose support was with us!
To the outgoing CVFD fire chief: Joel Quisenberry!
To the new CVFD fire chief: Lucy Blair!
To the outgoing board members: Ross Maynard, David Blocker, Lucy Blair, Bob Evans, and Jim EtsHokin!
To the new and continuing board members: Andrew Cox (president), Max Madsen (secretary) Jesse Forman (treasurer), Jason Hernandez, and Lisa Vogel!
If you weren’t there, here’s a quick rundown:
1) The lunch. It was healthy, and it was delicious. Especially that incredible pickle dish with the onions!
2) True to the CVFD’s goal of alleviating suffering as opposed to creating extra, the talking at’cha portion of the meeting went quick.
3) The candidates for fire chief – Lucy Blair and Max Madsen – both spoke for a few minutes concerning their qualifications and vision for the department.
4) And then we voted for chief. Who woulda thunk it? The first vote was a tie: twenty-three to twenty-three.
5) So we voted again. By a margin of two, Lucy Blair was voted in as chief. Congratulations, Lucy!
6) Fortunately, only one vote was needed for the board. Some of us wouldn’t have been able to take the excitement, otherwise, and might have unintentionally given EMT/Brand New Chief Lucy Blair some practice with the AED Defibrillator.
7) The meeting broke up shortly thereafter, the new board met briefly, and the CVFD is invigorated to not only meet the community’s vision for their fire department but to go above and beyond!
Did I remember to say thank you?
You can find out more about the CVFD at: http://cascabelvfd.weebly.com/
The CVFD email address is: CascabelFire@gmail.com
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch: January 2015
CVFD’s Fire Poetry Contest Results
Before we get to the Fire Poetry Contest results, please be sure you have the following item written in your brand new 2015 calendar: The CVFD Annual Meeting is on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at the Community Center, and it starts at 11am. Thanks to the Food Group, lunch will be provided for your gastronomical delight.
And now, the contest. . .
Alas, it is impossible to judge the entrants to the CVFD’s Fire Poetry Contest. After all, literature ought not to be compared; it should only be appreciated. Here are the results in the order in which they were received.
fire is a marvelous thing
whether you like it or not
it can burn or singe or melt
because it gets very hot
so please beware
and take care
when you light a match.
-by the lonesome coconut
(sung to the tune of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire")
They all put out that burning ring of fire,
They hosed it down so the flames couldn't go higher,
And it burned, burned out; they saved their shire--
Put out the fire.
"Fire and Ice" Parody, with apologies to Robert Frost
Some say the world will end in fire
And that's not nice!,
For though south Arizona's drier,
We uphold those who fight our fire.
Good Cascabellians, take the advice
Of CVFD in our state.
And think about it once or twice,
Before your fate
Must pay the price.
Fire is our friend:
It warms our fingers, it warms our toes,
It cooks our food, it dries our clothes.
It melts the iron to make our steel,
It burns the brush that we clear from our fields.
Fire is our foe:
It burns our houses, it burns our barns,
It cooks our cattle, it destroys our farms.
It pollutes the air and makes us choke,
It shortens the lives of those who smoke.
Fire is essential to the health of our forests:
It kills seedlings and saplings from among the large trees,
Which helps them grow strong and resist disease.
Fire has been with us since the beginning of time.
For many years it was our only light when sun and moon did not shine.
It will always be with us for the rest of our days,
So we must learn how to use it in responsible ways.
-by Bob Evans
A Cautionary Tale
There once was a camper named Dan,
Who set fire to his frying pan.
It was caught by the breeze
And blown into the trees.
“Farewell” said his friends to that man.
-by Bob Evans
Fire of the heart
Fire of the mind
When the fire burns
It leaves peace behind
Fire on the mountain
Fire on the plain
When the fire burns
It completes nature’s chain
Fire in the home
Fire in the car
When the fire burns
Its memory will scar
-by William Shakespeare
CVFD Public Information Officer
Four Part Fire Dispatch: 12/14
Poetry Contest/WENS/CVFD Website/ CVFD Annual Meeting
First of all: The Official CVFD Fire Poetry Contest:
I know what you were just thinking: What Cascabel Needs Is A Fire Poetry Contest. Your wish is our command!
The Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department is going to hold its first ever Fire Poetry Contest and you (yes YOU!) are invited to participate.
The categories for submission are:
1) Not humorous
2) Slightly Humorous
3) Medium Humorous
3) Crazy Humorous
Your poetry can contain any of the following aspects but it doesn’t have to:
5) Humor Humor Humor Humor Humor Humor Humor Humor Humor Humor Humor
Types of poems accepted include:
8) Free verse
9) Humorous Humorous Humorous Humorous Humorous Humorous Humorous
The judges will include the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department Public Information Officer and anyone else who can be coerced into it. There will be two major divisions:
All children are eligible for the adult contest, and all adults can fib and say they are children if they wish.
1) To enter, please send your submission(s) to the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department’s email address at: CascabelFire@gmail.com. Please submit right now. If that is not convenient, the closing date for submissions is Monday, December 29th.
2) Provide your true and accurate name with your poem(s), someone else’s true and accurate name with your poem(s), a totally untrue and inaccurate name with your poem(s), or no name at all with your poem(s).
3) You can submit one time, a hundred times, or anywhere in between.
To help get you started: Words that rhyme with “fire” include: acquire, admire, afire,, aspire, attire, barbed wire, briar, buyer, ceasefire, choir, clothes dryer, conspire, crier, denier, desire, dire, drier, dryer, enquire, entire, expire, flat tire, flier, flyer, friar, fryer, hair dryer, higher, high wire, hire, home buyer, inquire, inspire, ire, liar, live wire, lyre, mire, misfire, perspire, plier, plyer, prier, prior, pryer, pyre, reacquire, rehire, require, rewire, sapphire, shire, shyer, sigher, sire, spire, squire, stunt flier, supplier, tire, town crier, transpire, trier, wire, marshmallow.
The winning poems will be included in the January 2015 Fire Dispatch.
Remember: all submission must be received by Monday, December 29th, 2014!
Second Of All: WENS:
Want to be the first in the neighborhood to know? Cochise County has joined many communities nationwide in providing a “Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS). You can sign up to receive automatic email, text, or voice messages concerning emergency situation updates and/or boil water advisories and/or weather alerts for all of Cochise County or for the individual areas of your choice: Benson, Bisbee, Douglas, Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Tombstone, and/or Willcox.
Interested? Go to https://www.cochise.az.gov/ Then click on “Emergency Alert Notifications Registration” in the bottom right hand corner.
Third Of All: CVFD Website:
You asked for it! You got it! Well, at least a few people asked for it, and YOU can reap the benefit. The Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department now has its own website. Take a look! It’s at: http://cascabelvfd.weebly.com/
The website includes an About Page, a CVFD Meeting Minutes Page, a Fire Dispatch Page, and an Emergency Page. When there are no emergencies, the emergency page will be blank. However, in the event of an emergency (or the potential for one), this page will be updated just as soon as possible. If you are not in Cascabel at the time, or if you are in Cascabel but can’t reach anyone by phone, you may be able to get the information you need concerning the status of the emergency by looking at this page, so write it down right now.
Are there ways the CVFD website can be improved? Please let us know. The website is a work in process. Email CascabelFire@gmail.com and give us your feedback.
And Finally: The CVFD Annual Meeting:
It’s mark your calendars time. The CVFD Annual Meeting is set for Saturday, January 24th, starting at 11am at the Community Center. We will have our annual election for board members and, too, an election for Fire Chief. Neal Rudikoff has kindly consented to be our Election Official, and the Food Group (yeah!) will be providing lunch. Be there or. . . be there! You don’t want to miss this event!!!
Fire Dispatch November 2014
Fire Department Role
The Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department’s bylaws state: “The objective of the Department is to save lives, property, and livestock; and to protect the environment by fire suppression and prevention.” But there’s more to it than that single sentence. What is the purpose of a volunteer fire department, anyway?
An obvious answer is that a volunteer fire department exists to do everything that paid professional fire fighters do but without the paycheck and, frequently, without enough money for equipment and upkeep. But that begs the question. Whether there is enough money, personnel, or equipment or not, what are volunteer fire departments supposed to accomplish? Another obvious answer—that volunteer fire departments are supposed to fight fire—only scratches the surface.
Here is another way of looking at it. There is a certain amount of bad stuff that is going to happen in any community. The people that bad stuff happens to often need help. In some cases, law enforcement officers are the obvious choice to help. Other times, it more appropriate for fire fighters to be dispatched to the scene. Still other times, it’s the local people themselves that take it upon themselves to help in a time of need. Yet there are lots of things that can happen that no one is directly responsible for dealing with. Everyone who has been involved in the fire service for any length of time has stories about what crossed the line and what didn’t. Here are some examples:
1) A burglar alarm goes off in a store after hours. The police are dispatched to the scene and quickly figure out that the thief is still inside. He attempts to escape by crawling through some ducts up into the ceiling. There he gets stuck. The police are unable to get onto the roof of the building (and are unwilling to crawl through the duct work themselves), so they ask for mutual aid from the folks they know have ladders. Do the local volunteer fire department show up, ladders in tow? You bet they do! However, after they set up the ladders, it is the police officers that have to climb them and bring down that thief.
2) In an area in which the fire department runs the ambulance service, a 911 call is received concerning an ailing child. The caller gives few details, but indicates that transport will be necessary. When the fire fighter/paramedics arrive, the caller demands that the patient be taken immediately. . . to the vet. The patient? A sick dog. Do the fire fighters take the dog? Woof! Woof! Woof! Absolutely not!
The CVFD is an organization whose purpose is to serve. That’s not just a slogan. It’s for real. We can’t do everything, of course. But we promise this: we will do what we can. It’s a pleasure for those of us in the CVFD to know that we are part of a community that stands together for the health and protection of all.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch October 2014
Heart Attack vs. Cardiac Arrest
Many people confuse cardiac arrest with heart attack. Here are simple definitions of both conditions:
A heart attack (also called a myocardial infarction) happens when one or more of the coronary arteries is suddenly blocked. This causes part of the heart muscle to die because it is robbed of blood. So, bottom-line, a heart attack is the death of part of the heart muscle. This is a very serious condition that may lead to death. However, if blood flow can be returned to normal within a few hours, the damage to the heart is minimized, and the person may be able to continue leading a normal life.
A cardiac arrest is caused by ventricular fibrillation (a sudden heart arrhythmia). The heart’s electrical signals suddenly become extremely chaotic. This causes the timing and the organization of the heartbeat to become chaotic, too. Then the heart ceases to beat. The most common outcome of a cardiac arrest is sudden death.
Obviously, of the two conditions, cardiac arrest is by far the more life-threatening.
If you are with someone having a hearth attack or cardiac arrest, what should you do? Of course, you should call 911 immediately. After that, there is much more assistance you can provide while waiting for the CVFD, ambulance, and helicopter to arrive. This is especially critical for cardiac arrest. But you have to know what to do.
What you should do is this: After calling 911, begin CPR first thing. And then, if you have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) available, you should set it up and see if the system tells you to give that person an electrical shock. Where is the nearest AED? It could be with CVFD Assistant Chief Lucy Blair, or it could be with CVFD Assistant Chief Max Madsen. But, if you are at the Cascabel Community Center, there is one ready for you right there.
It’s best if you attend training with Assistant Chief and EMT Lucy Blair, who is in charge of all things medical for the CVFD, on its use. She will be scheduling some upcoming trainings. However, you don’t have to wait until then. You can begin training yourself right now! Here’s a link to a training video for our brand of AED: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KXvFtLU12s
Of course, if you don’t yet know how to do the new compression-only CPR along with using an AED for cases of cardiac arrest, you can train yourself for that, too. Yup! There’s a link. Take a look at: http://azdhs.gov/azshare/media/training/Your-Hands-Their-Heart_workplace-version.mp4
Another great CPR video to watch is: http://heart.arizona.edu/cpr-video
Or watch this online power point training: https://snt147.mail.live.com/mail/ViewOfficePreview.aspx?messageid=mgc2W1PrBB5BGeggAhWtgMLA2&folderid=flinbox&attindex=0&cp=-1&attdepth=0&n=48146468
It wasn’t that many years ago that many heart attacks were fatal and virtually all cardiac arrests were fatal, too. Those days have come and gone. You can help save lives. It all starts with training, so you know what to do.
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch September 2014
As you may already know, the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department is going through major changes at every level, and we’re hoping to include YOU!
Joel Quesenberry is temporarily acting as Fire Chief until our annual meeting in January. Lucy Blair is Assistant Fire Chief in charge of EMS and public relations. And Max Madsen is Assistant Fire Chief in charge of operations and communications. In order to deepen their knowledge, Lucy will be attending a rural/volunteer department management class through Arizona State Fire School, and Max will attend leadership training. However, there is an administrative position that needs to be filled, and that is the election administrator for the Fire Board election in January. We are asking for help from someone who is not currently on the board and who does not currently hold a position of responsibility with the CVFD to do the following:
1) Accept nominations for the positions on the board and for the position of Fire Chief, and confirm availability/interest with the nominated.
2) Provide a forum for the community with information prior to the meeting concerning each of the candidates for the position.
3) Prepare ballots and run the election during the annual meeting and count the votes.
This year all positions are open for election, including all board member positions and the Fire Chief, as used to be done by the CVFD in years past.
If you are willing to run the CVFD Board and Fire Chief election, please let us know. In fact, if you just might be interested, let us know. Contact Lisa Vogel (212-1222 or email@example.com). We promise to make the job as easy as possible!
And now onto other news. . . some welcome’s and thank you’s and upcoming events:
First of all, we would like to welcome and thank our newest volunteers to the CVFD: Anna Keene, Elna Otter and Alex Binford-Walsh, who would all like to use their knowledge to help with EMS. Also, a big welcome to Jason Hernandez, who joined the CVFD board in August, and a big farewell to George Bushno, whose presence on the board will be greatly missed!
In addition, we would like to thank Bonnie Bell, Sue Newman, and Anna Keene for helping Lucy to clean and organize our new office space at Heaven Sent Ranch and to prepare the rescue truck for service. We have moved out of the little trailer and into a room in the little house there. Big thanks to Max and the Rogers for sharing their space.
And now for upcoming happenings:
AED Training Wednesday, September 3rd after the Coffee at the Community Center (noonish).
As you may know, we used to have an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in the Community Center, and we will soon have one again (along with a first aid kit)! The training on September 3rd will tell participants how to use the AED. Don’t worry. It’s not hard.
Extrication training Saturday, September 13, 2014 @ 8:00am at Heaven Sent.
We will be cutting up a vehicle and extricating a patient from that vehicle. Anyone using the cutting tools will need to have their PPE on, which includes long sleeve shirt, long pants, gloves, closed-toed shoes (preferably boots) and eye protection. This will be fun for all, and there will be many things for everyone to do.
Butterfield Stage Days Saturday and Sunday, October 11th -12th, in Benson
The CVFD will have a booth selling handmade Cascabel arts, handing out Firewise material, and selling raffle tickets for the wonderful quilt that valley residents made. We would also like to have our 1976 Dodge Powerwagon in the car show (after a good spit shine, of course). If you would like to help in any aspect, please contact Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org
And in January, on a soon to be disclosed date, the CVFD Annual Meeting will take place. Please plan to come and see what we have done in a year!
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch August 2014
Fire & Natural Environments (Part Two)
As mentioned in the July 2014 fire dispatch, fire is usually good for the majority of natural environments in the United States (and most of the rest of the world, too). There is a problem with fire, though, and that problem is human beings. When humans live close to or in natural environments, they tend to prefer that those environments not burn because human structures, and everything inside of them, are sometimes burned along with the vegetation. Therefore, despite the needs of the environment, fires were historically fought and put out as quickly as possible. The result? More and more fuel got built-up, which resulted in hotter fires the next time the area burned.
Hotter fires present many problems. First of all, trees that normally would have survived with not much more than burn marks on the bark become fully engulfed in flame and are killed. Secondly, seeds in the ground that normally would have survived the fire are burnt and will no longer sprout. In addition, the fire is more comprehensive; instead of having fingers of fire, with many areas between left unburned, entire areas are completely blackened, thus greatly slowing down the revegetation process for years to come. Finally, hotter fires are much harder to fight. Wildland fire fighters must increase the distance between themselves and the fire’s edge in order to remain safe and, too, the fire is much more likely to jump the fire line being constructed, so those lines need to be made much wider.
One possible method of reducing the problem of over-mature natural areas that have not burned in a long time is for fire fighters to set prescribed burns. Unfortunately, there is never a guarantee that these fires won’t get out of control. Weather patterns can change suddenly, after all. And many property owners are uncomfortable with the idea of intentionally set fire. They put political pressure on elected and government officials to not burn, which results in the situation just getting worse.
This is not an easy issue, but one thing is clear. Even in areas of overly mature natural environments, there are many actions property owners can take to protect their homes and land. While there is no guarantee of success, these actions can help make any property much safer. The idea is to create a defensible space around the property to help stop fire in its tracks.
While the level of danger we in Cascabel face varies depending upon the amount and type of fuel on and near our property, all of us can take steps to become safer.
Want to know more? Firewise can help. Information is available at:
For free on-line courses, take a look at:
To get your home inspected by a trained fire assessor (Lisa Vogel or Bob Evans) and receive free tips on what you can do to protect your property from wildfire call:
We don’t know when a major fire will come burning up the San Pedro and perhaps the surrounding hillsides, but sooner or later it will come. The best thing you can do is to prepare before it does.
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch July 2014
Fire & Natural Environments (Part One)
There are not too many ecosystems in the United States that didn’t originally experience non-human caused fires on a regular basis. Generally, these were caused by lightning though, in special circumstances, other causes, such as lava flow, could come into play. In fact, researchers can look at a particular natural environment and conclude that, were nature in complete control, the area would have, on the average burned every five years, every ten years, or every twenty years depending upon various factors such as soil type, vegetation type, altitude, and weather. In most cases, not only did fire NOT destroy the native flora and fauna (although it did, of course, kill individual plants and animals), it actually left the habitat much healthier.
How could this be the case? It’s good that you asked! First of all, fewer individual plants and animals would have died than you might imagine. Many trees, for instance, have a thick bark that allows the tree to survive a typical ground fire. Even plants that don’t have that kind of protection often survive because natural fire rarely blankets an entire area. Instead, fire spreads in ‘fingers’ that leave plenty of land unscathed between the areas that burn.
As far as animals go, the birds, of course, typically fly away to safety. The nests of those built in trees are sometimes spared, especially if they are high up. Other animals successfully run from the flames; still others, like the plants mentioned above, are fortunate enough to find themselves in a pocket of green land amid that which has been burned.
The years following a natural fire are generally especially good for both plants and animals. As some plants and dead wood on the ground would have gotten burned back during the fire, there would be lots more sunlight and moisture available on the forest floor. Seeds from both those plants that survived as well as those that were already on the ground (which, depending upon the species, often don’t get burned in a normal fire and might even be aided by the burning process) thus have excellent conditions in which to sprout and grow. All that new growth is exactly what many herbivores – such as deer and rabbits – need to survive. And the herbivores are just what the carnivores require. Therefore, the years after a fire tend to be excellent for most native species.
So, if you are used to thinking about fire as being bad for the environment, think again. It usually is quite healthy. However, there is a problem with natural fire, and that will be the subject of the next fire dispatch.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch June 2014
Your Friend Electricity
Multiple Choice Question:
Imagine this: you’ve just come home, and the electrical outlets and lights in one room are no longer working. There is no problem with the fuse, and the electricity works fine in the rest of the house. If you don’t have any experience fixing electrical malfunctions, what is the best way to handle the problem?
1) No problem. You own half a mile of extension cords. Just string those puppies from outlets in other parts of the house and hook up everything in the affected room that way.
2) Why do anything? You once lived in a two by five foot backpacker’s tent at the North Pole straight through the winter with naught but a screwdriver, a can-opener, and a mousetrap. Who needs electricity?
3) Call an electrician and get the problem checked out as soon as possible. You can’t be sure, but it could be an electrical line has somehow gotten frayed or been chewed by a mouse. That thing could be sparking this very minute and, in a worse case scenario, something in your wall or ceiling could catch on fire. Before you know it, your house might be completely engulfed in flames.
The correct answer is . . . . #3! An electrical problem is not just an inconvenience. You could lose your home. And because, in this scenario, the fire could smolder quite some time where it can’t be seen, it’s much harder to know it has even started. In fact, if it happens at night when you’re sleeping, it’s not just your home you could lose. It could be your life.
What can you do to protect yourself from all kinds of electrical fire? The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends the following:
• Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
• Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
• In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.
• Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
• Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
• Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
• If outlets or switches feel warm, or if you have frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.
• Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp's recommended wattage.
• Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen, bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas.
• Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home to protect electrical outlets.
• One more important point that NFPA doesn’t mention relates electrical heaters. Each heater should be equipped with a device that will turn the heater off should it get turned over and, too, make sure you keep flammable objects away from them.
And, whenever your electricity ceases to function as it normally does, call someone skilled in handling electrical problems. While you’re waiting for the electrician to arrive, should you smell even a slight amount of smoke or burning that you can’t account for, call 911. The Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department would rather respond and find out the problem was that lasagna with extra cheese you put in the oven yesterday and then forgot about than to not get there until the only thing left of your house is the slab.
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch May 2014
Snakes and Sticks
How many times have you walked through the desert or down Cascabel Road and jumped back in fear when you spied a rattlesnake? Then, taking a second look, you realized it was only a stick? How many times have you walked through the desert or down Cascabel Road and saw a stick, but didn’t take a second look, and it was actually a rattlesnake? You might not know the answer to that one because. . . you didn’t take a second look. The good news is that, most of the time, rattlesnakes won’t bite even if you accidentally get closer than you should. The bad news is that sometimes they will.
We are in rattlesnake season now. Rattlesnakes tend to start coming out in March or April, and they are their most active in the eighty to ninety degree range. This means you are most likely to see them in the middle of the day in early to mid spring and mid to late fall. In the summer though, they are typically out in the evening, night, and early morning. There is no guarantee that the snakes know what season it is, so what should you always do? You should be careful!!!
There are a lot of ways to protect yourself against rattlesnakes. Here are some recommendations:
1) Train your eyes to “see” snakes. Actively look for them when you are anywhere a snake might be (in other words, any time you are outside and not in an urban area). Look both for the shape of the body and for the pattern of the skin. But do remember that not all rattlesnakes look the same. Our most common rattler in southern Arizona is the Western Diamondback, but even they can differ to some degree in both shade and pattern of the skin. If you are not sure if the snake is poisonous, then just avoid it. You know the old saying: better safe than sorry!
2) Dress appropriately for the occasion. Boots offer more protection than shoes, and shoes offer more protection than sandals. But even high boots aren’t perfect as rattlesnakes can reach way above your ankles. So, consider wearing snake chaps with those boots if you’re going to be outdoors a lot. When one considers that the average cost of snakebite treatment exceeds $40,000, snake chaps can be worth their weight in gold.
3) Don’t put unprotected body parts in places large enough for a snake to be hiding. That means, if you aren’t wearing boots, don’t walk through high grass. Don’t reach with your hand into holes or underneath rocks. And, if you are out at night, have a flashlight with you.
4) Remember, as Cascabel naturalist Ralph Waldt says, that rattlesnakes are the only dangerous snake in the world that actively tries to warn you of their presence ahead of time by rattling. So, when you are in rattlesnake country, don’t forget to keep your ears open, too. However, if you are getting older, especially if you are male, remember that it is common to lose the ability to hear high-pitched sounds. If that has happened, you might no longer be able to hear rattlesnakes.
And one more word of warning. . . if you do get bit by a rattlesnake, yes, you should go to the hospital for treatment. You should go immediately. Medical professionals strongly recommend a helicopter trip for snakebite victims that are bitten in remote areas like Cascabel because time is of the essence when bitten.
Snake venom varies from species to species and from area to area. The rattlesnakes in Cochise County manufacture particularly virulent venoms. One species, the Mojave Rattlesnake, has extremely potent venom that can be life-threatening. People with low body weight, such as children, and older people, are most at risk.
These days, almost no one who goes for treatment dies of a poisonous snakebite. But, when a rattler sinks its fangs into you, venom isn’t the only thing it can inject into your flesh and bloodstream. Whatever is rotting in its mouth can be injected, too, and you could end up with a nasty infection. Let a trained medical professional provide you with the care you really do need.
Thanks to Naturalist Ralph Waldt for helping to write this fire dispatch.
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch April 2014
The subject of how to evacuate in the case of emergency has been mentioned in fire dispatches several times now. Here is a mix of new information (first) and old information (second) that may be useful for you.
Why might you need to evacuate? The obvious answer is fire, but there is a less obvious answer, too: Chemical spill. As Chief Max Madsen stated in our community training on March 8th, there is a major rail line going through the northern end of Benson. You’ve no doubt noticed the rectangular shipping containers that those trains carry, but there are a lot of the oval shaped chemical containers, too. Some of those oval containers carry potentially dangerous chemicals. Should there be a derailment or a leak from any other cause, Benson could be in trouble. And should the wind be blowing towards us, the southern half of Cascabel could be in trouble, too.
Normally, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office handles all evacuations in our area. If there is a major chemical spill, however, we can’t count on that assistance. First of all, they would likely have their hands full evacuating people in Benson. Second of all, it might not be safe for them to get through the chemical cloud to us. Deputies don’t carry self-contained breathing apparatus in their patrol vehicles, after all. The Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department is currently looking at options concerning how we can get the word out for this kind of emergency as well as others. In the meantime, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to be prepared. It doesn’t take much.
Think about beforehand how you are going to evacuate (both if you need to take the southern route AND if you need to take the northern route). What vehicle(s) will you use that will be sufficient to carry all your family members, your pets, and any stock animals you may have? Where would you go and how would you contact other family members who were not home at the time?
The other thing that is highly recommended by the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is to have a Disaster Supplies Kit with the following items in order to make life a little more manageable while you are in a safe place away from home:
1) A supply of water (one gallon per day per person) in a sealed, unbreakable container that is sufficient to get you and anyone with you to your chosen evacuation point. The storage date should be written on the container and the water replaced every six months.
2) A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener. Three days worth is recommended if you plan on camping out.
3) A change of clothing including sturdy shoes.
4) Blankets or sleeping bags (and assorted camping gear if you will be camping out).
5) A first aid kit and prescription medications.
6) An extra pair of glasses (especially if needed for driving).
7) A battery powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
8) Credit cards and cash.
9) An extra set of car keys.
10) A list of family physicians and hospitals in the area one is most likely to evacuate to.
11) A list of important medical information about yourself and anyone who may be evacuating with you (i.e. medical issues, allergies, and a list of how to reach next of kin).
12) Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members as needed.
13) Cell phone and charger.
14) Assorted sanitary items as needed such (soap, towels, toilet paper, shaving equipment, and menstrual cycle products).
15) Pet items (food, leashes, water bowls, and carrying cases).
16) Important papers you will need while you are away (driver’s license, etc.)
17) Cochise County phone book.
18) Cherished mementoes.
Most of these items should be stored in an easy-to-carry container such as a backpack or duffle bag, which should be located in an easy to reach place in your home. Only a few items, such as medication, will likely need to be packed at the last minute. Remember that urban areas with all the normal amenities are nearby; you don’t have to bring enough to survive for a week. In all likelihood, after a day or two out of your home, the evacuation order will be lifted or the threat of danger – whether it be fire or chemical spill – will have played itself out. You can return home, having had the best possible experience in a difficult situation.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch March 2014
What Equipment Goes Where?
As mentioned in the February Fire Dispatch, we’re getting the fire vehicles back in service now that we have some money for repairs. In addition, we have just received a donation of a Type 1 Engine that used to belong to St. David and Norm Bradley of Benson. What are we going to do with all these vehicles? We plan to return to our previous plan of having them spaced throughout the valley for the best possible coverage of the 640 square miles the CVFD provides service to.
Here’s the plan, partially already in place, for vehicle placement east of the river:
Rescue truck for medical response at Assistant Fire Chief (and soon to be Emergency Medical Technician) Lucy Blair’s residence at mile marker 8.
Water Tender and Type 6 Brush Truck at Fire Chief Max Madsen’s residence at mile marker 17.
Type 1 Engine at David Blocker and Barbara Clark’s residence at mile marker 21.
Type 6 Brush Truck at George Bushno’s residence at mile marker 26.
On the west of the river:
Water Tender near Nick Strait’s residence at mile marker 8.
So, imagine you have an emergency at your place. What do you do? You call 911.
The 911 dispatcher knows what information to ask in order to determine the exact emergency response needed. She or he will immediately contact the CVFD for the initial response and, if needed, other agencies. Immediately, a CVFD emergency vehicle begins rolling your way. The fire truck nearest to your location is dispatched and, generally speaking, Fire Chief Max Madsen, too. If there is any possibility of a medical concern, then Assistant Fire Chief Lucky Blair is dispatched, as well. Other volunteers will be dispatched as needed. An ambulance from outside the community may also be dispatched but, if you are payment-aversive, do not fear. There is NO charge for an ambulance coming to your home. There are only charges if the ambulance workers provide care and transport.
Here are the answers to some what if questions:
Question: What if the person who is responsible for the nearest fire vehicle to you is not at home at the time of your incident?
Answer: The CVFD is in the process of getting other active members trained in vehicle use, and another member would pick up that vehicle and drive to the scene.
Question: What if you are not sure if your incident is bad enough to warrant calling 911 and requesting assistance?
Answer: Call anyway. We are happy to respond to ‘maybe’ situations. We are happy to respond to ‘probably not’ situations. If you are even thinking about calling, that’s an indication that you should.
Question: What if you are so inspired by the CVFD’s desire to protect the community that you want to join the team? Should you do it?
Answer: You betcha! Contact Chief Max Madsen (212-4772) or Assistant Chief Lucy Blair (212-5307). Don’t worry. No matter what your skills or interests are, we have a place for you!!!
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch February 2014
Thanks to all of you who came to the Cascabel Fire Department’s annual meeting. As you could probably tell, the members of the board of the CVFD are dedicated to rising up from the ashes (to use a fire related metaphor) in order to provide the best possible service to the community as we possibly can. You have our promise that we’ll do everything we can to listen to the needs of the community, to provide useful and interesting training that you’ll WANT to come to, and to respond to medical, fire, and other emergencies as quickly as we are able.
Please continue to let us know what you need and how we can be of service. One of the best ways to do that is to attend one of our board meetings. Normally, we meet at 8am on the second Wednesday of the month at the Community Center. However, as it is possible that we may, from time to time, need to move the meeting to another day or time, consider contacting a board member before you come. The current board members (and their phone numbers) are listed below. Of course, if you can’t make a meeting, you can just call a board member and ask that she or he bring up your concern on your behalf.
As many of you know, we’ve had a plethora of issues with the fire trucks. A large part of the problem had to do with a lack of funds. Fortunately, monies owed to the CFVD from the Fox Fire in June of 2012 finally came through and, too, the excellent job everyone did at the Fair this year (thanks especially to quilters Leslie Hellriegel, Lynn Ffolliott, Jackie Naegle, Desiree Pursley, Sharon Smith, and Erma DeFee for that fabulous quilt that made selling raffle tickets easy) resulted in four of the trucks receiving some much needed repairs. We are also continuing work on the radio repeaters and this will produce a much better communications system throughout Cascabel shortly.
Training is another big item on the CVFD’s agenda. You may be aware we had no training for a period of months, but we are now back on track. And guess what? You’re invited! Our upcoming training schedule includes:
*February 8th (9am): Equipment maintenance
*March 1st: Annual refresher/pack test
*April 12th Communications in Cascabel/Cochise County
The other aspect of training we want to let you know about is that two members of the board are attending advanced training. Assistant Chief Lucy Blair is currently in EMT school at Cochise College in Sierra Vista, and she hopes to be fully certified by June (thank you, Neal Rudikoff, for financial assistance!). Board member Lisa Vogel will attend Public Information Officer training at the Arizona Wildfire Academy in Prescott in March. If YOU have any interest in attending advanced fire fighting training (which could not only help us here in Cascabel but could, potentially, help you gain temporary employment during large scale fires both in-state and out-of-state) please contact Jim EtsHokin for further information.
One more CRITICAL thing as a reminder. . . phone numbers!
If you have a fire or medical emergency and need an immediate response, the phone number you should call is: 911
If you have fire department business that may involve Chief Max Madsen (such as alerting the CVFD that you will be burning your slash pile), the phone number you should call is:
If you have a question about when the next board meeting is or want to talk to a board member for any reason, the 2014 board members are:
Fire Chief Max Madsen: 212-4772
Board President Ross Maynard: 212-7677
Assistant Chief and Board Secretary Lucy Blair: 212-5307
Board Treasurer David Blocker: 212-1040
Public Information Officer Lisa Vogel: 212-1222
Board Member George Bushno: 212-2888
Board Member Jim EtsHokin: 212-4130
Board Member Bob Evans: 212-4580
Thank you to out-going board members Leslie Hellriegel and Adam Valdivia for your hard work. It is appreciated!
And to everyone else in Cascabel? Don’t forget: Stay safe and stay good looking!!!
CVFD Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch January 2014
Origin of Fire
We often think of fire as something destructive, but it can provide much comfort as a source of heat, as a method of cooking, and as a thing of beauty on a dark, moonless night. Imagine living in a world without fire. What would you do to get some?
The First Fire
In the beginning of the world, there was no fire. The animal people were often cold. Only the Thunders, who lived in the world beyond the sky arch, had fire. At last they sent Lightning down to an island. Lightning put fire into the bottom of a hollow sycamore tree.
The animal people knew that the fire was there, because they could see smoke rising from the top of the tree. But they could not get to it on account of the water. So they held a council to decide what to do.
Everyone that could fly or could swim was eager to go after the fire. Raven said, "Let me go. I am large and strong."
At that time Raven was white. He flew high and far across the water and reached the top of the sycamore tree. While he sat there wondering what to do, the heat scorched all his feathers black. The frightened Raven flew home without the fire, and his feathers have been black ever since.
Then the council sent Screech Owl. He flew to the island. But while he was looking down into the hollow tree, a blast of hot air came up and nearly burned out his eyes. He flew home and to this day, Screech Owl's eyes are red.
Then Hooting Owl and Horned Owl were sent to the island together. But the smoke nearly blinded them, and the ashes carried up by the wind made white rings about their eyes. They had to come home, and were never able to get rid of the white rings.
Then Little Snake swam across to the island, crawled through the grass to the tree, and entered it through a small hole at the bottom. But the smoke and the heat were too much for him, too. He escaped alive, but his body had been scorched black. And it was so twisted that he doubled on his track as if always trying to escape from a small space.
Big Snake, the climber, offered to go for fire, but he fell into the burning stump and became as black as Little Snake. He has been the great blacksnake ever since.
At last Water Spider said that she would go. Water Spider has black downy hair and red stripes on her body. She could run on top of water and she could dive to the bottom. She would have no trouble in getting to the island.
"But you are so little, how will you carry enough fire?" the council asked.
"I'll manage all right," answered Water Spider. "I can spin a web." so she spun a thread from her body and wove it into a little bowl and fastened the little bowl on her back. Then she crossed over to the island and through the grass. She put one little coal of fire into her bowl and brought it across to the people.
Every since, we have had fire. And the Water Spider still has her little bowl on her back.
Found at: http://www.ilhawaii.net/~stony/lore62.html
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch December 2013
CVFD Changes/Neighbors and Fire
Here’s a two-part fire dispatch for your viewing pleasure.
Lucy Blair joined the CVFD board earlier in the year and now she is replacing Jim EtsHokin as CVFD Assistant Fire Chief. As Lucy grew up here on the river at the Lonesome Coconut Ranch, many of you already know her quite well. Here is what she has to say:
I’m really happy to be back in Cascabel, and I’m proud to be a contributing member of this community. As Assistant Fire Chief, I hope to involve the fire department in the community more. This includes creating wellness check-up programs, so we can all watch out for each other and regular maintenance schedules for the fire vehicles to help keep them in good running order. Also I hope we can have regular mini-trainings for volunteers on how to operate the trucks and equipment so when an emergency comes up everyone is comfortable and safe helping out.
Jim EtsHokin will continue with the CVFD as time allows and will still contribute his knowledge of expertise to keep our department strong.
Neighbors and Fire:
You know that big old pile of trash wood you’ve got behind the house that you’ve been meaning to burn BEFORE it grows bigger than the house itself? Now that temperatures have cooled down, this might be a good time to get that job done. However, precautions are in order, so it not only gets done safely but gets done in a neighborly fashion.
Of course, you’ll want to clear around the purposed burning area to insure that there is no unintended fire spread. Having a hose nearby to put out any sparks is also a great idea. And do check the weather beforehand. The wind can pick up suddenly; you will want to burn during one of those nice calm times.
And then. . . a little communication is in order. The official CVFD recommendation is that you call the business line (212-FIRE) and let the department know you’re burning. That way, if we receive a call from a neighbor or passing motorist, we’ll know to tell them not to worry. But wouldn’t it be nice if you also let the neighbors know? Think about what it’s like from their perspective. It’s morning, and they step foot outside, only to get a whiff of smoke. Yet they can’t quite tell which way its coming from. Naturally, they get concerned. Or else it’s evening, and they know exactly where that smell is coming from because they can see the flame not fifty feet from your house. So, they call to check that everything is all right you but you don’t answer the phone because you’re outside tending your burning inferno!
You can see why people would get a little worried even if they know you to normally be completely responsible. Therefore, the next time you burn, consider letting not just the fire department know but the folks to either side of you, too. You don’t have to invited them over to toast marshmallows (although you can!). But, when it comes to fire, a little communication makes for good neighbors and friends.
Fire Dispatch November 2013
Winter Fire Concerns
But it’s a dry cold. Yeah, right
If only our summer temperatures were ten degrees cooler and our winter temperatures were ten degrees warmer, a whole bunch of us might not bother with either heating systems or cooling systems. However, we’ve got what we’ve got. While cooling systems virtually never pose a fire danger (which is good since we’ve got more than enough fire danger in the summer), heating systems do. It depends what your heat source is, of course. Here are some words of warning for two of the kinds with the most potential to be troublesome.
If you’re heating your home with wood, you’ve got a stovepipe or a chimney. And if you have a stovepipe or chimney, you’ve got a place for creosote (also called pitch) to collect. Creosote, in this context, is not that bush you can find growing all over the valley. Don’t worry: it is unlikely any bushes are growing up in your stovepipe or chimney! But you might have a dark, gummy, extremely flammable substance coating the walls in there. And if you do? One spark can cause that kind of creosote to ignite. The worst-case scenario is that it works its way through the stovepipe or chimney and burns down your home.
How did it get up there you ask? To a large degree, it is a natural build-up of gases from the wood you burn. However, not all wood burns the same. Soft woods tend to leave behind a little more creosote and hard woods a little less. Even more important, though, is the temperature of the fire.
Some people like to pack the stove full of wood in the evening and close up the stove at night. Then they have a little heat coming out all night and a nice fire all set to reverse the morning’s chill in the morning. It is the lower temperature created by this technique over night that can cause a problem because, instead of being burned off, the gasses end up plastering your chimney or stovepipe interior. Soon you’ve got a creosote build-up. A fire has to be at least 250 degrees to begin to burn it off. Therefore, it is wise every morning that you have had a fire smoldering all night to let’er rip hot and strong in the morning to burn off that creosote build-up.
The other important thing to remember is the move Mary Poppins. No, you don’t have to hire Dick Van Dyke as your chimneysweeper. You can do it yourself or you can hire a neighbor. Recommendations vary, but minimally you should sweep once a year with a wire chimney brush that is the right size and shape for your stovepipe or chimney. Get that gunk out of there and you won’t have to worry about a stovepipe or chimney fire.
Electrical Space Heaters:
It’s a real energy saver to close the door of a small room, turn the dial, and heat that puppy up without wasting a lot of money on rooms you won’t be in until nightfall or even until spring. But electrical space heaters do have the potential to be dangerous if you don’t take precautionary steps. According to the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, these steps should definitely include:
1) Don’t operate space heaters that appear to be damaged. This especially relates to a frayed or worn cord. Check occasionally and insure that the heater plug and cord it is not getting hot. If so, discontinue use. Also, don’t put that plug into an extension cord or power strip. They can’t necessarily carry the load. And you know it’s not safe to put the cord under rugs or carpeting, so don’t even think about it!
2) Another thing you know is that you really shouldn’t leave a space heater on while you are in another room or are sleeping. You want to be aware and awake for that first sign of trouble as opposed to waiting until the smell of smoke finally pulls you out of dreamland.
3) Keep the stuff that burns easily at least three feet away from the heater (this means front, back and sides). It includes curtains, beds, paper goods, and clothes. Also, don’t use a heater near water, and don’t touch one when you are wet. You don’t want to find out the hard way what a good conductor of electricity water is.
4) Make sure the heater is on a stable surface and can’t be knocked over. Sure it is supposed to turn off if it falls over and lands on its side. But do you really want to risk your home on the assumption that it’s going to do that?
Staying warm in our relatively temperate climate is not a big deal. A few precautions will help you stay not just warm but safe, too. Enjoy your upcoming winter!
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch October 2013
CVFD Fundraiser/Fire Prevention Week/Les Helfrich
This is a three-part dispatch. . .
Part One: The Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department Fundraiser.
Yee hah! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank just about everyone! That’s everyone who lives in Cascabel and everyone who doesn’t. There’s no way to list everyone who contributed because we’re not supposed to send thousand page emails through the listserve. But if you came to the event, if you donated to the event, if you were responsible for insuring it didn’t rain, then the CVFD wholeheartedly thanks you. Of course, one person in particular really does have to be mentioned.
Lucy instigated. Lucy planned. Lucy organized. Lucy recruited. Lucy kept on smiling. Lucy got stuff done that most mere mortals aren’t even capable of imagining. How Lucy didn’t go crazy in the process, no one knows.
So thank you Lucy and thank you everyone else. Due to all of your efforts, the CVFD raised just slightly less than one billion dollars. Give or take a few pennies. Okay, maybe it was closer to around $1,800. But that $1,800 will really, truly make a difference.
Part Two: Fire Prevention Week
Yes, there is such a thing as Fire Prevention Week, and it is this month. October 6th through the 12th to be exact. Now, if you have little ones or even medium sized ones running around the house, this is an excellent opportunity to introduce them to some basic fire and emergency rules. As mentioned in a previous fire dispatch, this includes:
A. Do Not Play With Fire or Things That Are Hot
The kitchen stove. The wood-burning stove. Irons. Whatever. Take a look around your house, and let your children know what is best to stay away from.
B. Know What To Do In Case Of Fire (or other emergencies)
Explain the process of calling 911 and conduct a few make-believe calls with the child pretending to be calling about various kinds of emergencies and you acting as the 911 dispatcher. Then, make sure your child knows that, in the event of house fire, she or he needs to get out of the house! Develop a family fire escape plan in advance and practice it, so your children know exactly what to do.
C. Tell Children Not To Fear Firefighters
You can contact the CVFD to set up an appointment and have your child chat with a fire fighter in full gear who will show her or him one of our fire trucks and explain how it works. Just call the fire department business line (212-FIRE) to make the appointment. We have a special going on during fire prevention week. All home visits are free. Okay, they are also free every other week of the year. But now we are having a two for one sale.
And for the non-child residents of Cascabel, we are also accepting requests for fire assessments of your home and property. Now that it’s cooler, don’t you want to get out there and fix a few things that might could make the difference between your house surviving a fire and your returning home after being evacuated to a smoldering pile of rubble? Of course you do! Call Lisa (212-1222) or Bob (212-4580) to set up your free assessment.
Part Three: Les Helfrich.
There are things that can’t really be put into words.
Thank you, Les. You will be missed. You already are.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch September 2013
The official recommendation of the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department is that you not have a myocardial infarction – a heart attack – here in Cascabel. Okay, actually we recommend you not have one anywhere. They are bad news. A heart attack can be defined as a situation in which part of the heart muscle is damaged because of a blood flow blockage. If the damage is bad enough, the heart could lose its ability to keep you alive. It is best to avoid this if you can.
Fortunately, there are some practical things you can do to avoid heart attacks. Most of them are things that will help protect your health from a number of other illnesses, too, and you probably already know about them. According to the Mayo Clinic, they include:
· Not smoking yourself and also avoiding secondhand smoke.
· Controlling certain conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. This means getting regular medical check-ups, so you know what’s going on with your body.
· Staying physically active.
· Eating healthy foods: lowering saturated fats and cholesterol and including plenty of vegetables and fruits.
· Maintaining a healthy weight.
· Reducing stress levels.
· Drinking in moderation only (or not at all).
· Being in love. (Okay, the Mayo Clinic didn’t include this one, but that doesn’t mean it won’t help.)
Of course, there is that genetic predisposition thing to worry about, also. Even if you do everything right (or get reasonably close), you may still need blood thinning medication. Talk to. . . yes. . . your doctor about it if you fall into this category.
How do you know if you are having a heart attack, anyway? It’s actually not so easy to tell. There are a wide variety of symptoms. Some people get this one, others get that one. Some get three or four. Some think they’ve got indigestion. Here are the most obvious things to look for:
· Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your
chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back.
· A sense of fullness, nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain.
· Shortness of breath.
· Sweating or a cold sweat.
· Feelings of anxiety or an impending sense of doom.
· Trouble sleeping.
· Lightheadedness or dizziness.
Guess what you should do if you are sure you are having a heart attack or if you think you MIGHT be? Yes! Call 911!!! Here, again from the Mayo Clinic, are some exact recommendations:
Call for emergency medical help. Don't hesitate. Immediately call 911. If you don't have access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital. Drive yourself only as a last resort, if there are absolutely no other options. Driving yourself puts you and others at risk if your condition suddenly worsens.
Take nitroglycerin, if prescribed. If your doctor has prescribed nitroglycerin, take it as instructed while awaiting the arrival of emergency medical personnel.
Take aspirin, if recommended. If you're concerned about your heart attack risk, ask your doctor beforehand if chewing a 162- or 325-milligram (mg) aspirin tablet if you have heart attack symptoms is a good idea. Taking aspirin during a heart attack could reduce the damage to your heart by making your blood less likely to clot. Aspirin can interact with other medications, however, so don't take an aspirin unless your doctor or emergency medical personnel recommend it.
Now, about not having a heart attack in Cascabel, here’s why. It’s going to take that ambulance awhile to get to your house and an even longer time to get you to a medical facility. Even if the helicopter is dispatched immediately, it’s not coming quick. There is advanced care you can be given by ambulance personnel and then a whole lot more you can get in the hospital. They can almost always keep you alive if you get there in time. But the time thing really is a killer in this case.
So, try hard to not have a heart attack in Cascabel, okay? In fact, just don’t have one anywhere. That’s probably the best way to go!
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch August 2013
CVFD Update/Kitchen Fires
First of all, a Cascabel Volunteer Update:
The CVFD is having a fund-raiser, and you are invited! It’ll be a BBQ/Picnic at Gammon’s Gulch on Saturday, September 14th with live music, entertainment, and a whole lotta fund!
Also, the rescue truck, the CVFD’s EMS response vehicle, is now located at Leslie Hellriegel’s house, about four miles north of the Community Center.
Finally, we’ve got a new water tender. The old water tender 101 has been replaced with a 2,500 gallon tactical water tender, capable of both fighting fire and hauling water. It will be located at Heaven Sent.
And now, this month’s subject. . . .
Which room in the house has more fires start in it than any other? Yes, the obvious answer is the correct one. The kitchen. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of ten fires start there. And the cause of the majority of those fires? Cooking! This does not mean, however, that in the interest of safety you must now eat all your food cold and raw. Rather, there are simple and easy steps you can take that will help keep your home protected. Consider following these basic suggestions:
1. The leading cause of all these kitchen fires is unattended cooking. That means keep an eye out on what you are doing. No dozing off for a “few minutes” while the stove or oven is on. And if you like to drink more than just a little bit? Don’t cook at the same time!
2. Watch out of those kids. Always be present in the kitchen if something is cooking and a small child is present. It helps if you use the burners that are further away, so the child can’t reach them, and if you turn the handles of the pots and pans inward. Many people recommend, in addition, having a three foot barrier around the stove and training the young ‘uns to not get closer to the stove than that. You can’t count on that they’ll listen 100% of the time, but it might help.
3. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, but do not place it right behind the stove. You don’t want to have to reach through the flame to get to it.
4. Cleanliness does count, so be careful with the grease build-up around the stove! One false move and? Kaboom!
5. Keep objects that can burn a good three feet from the stove top. This includes towels, curtains, food packaging, pot-holders and your longhaired cat Fluffy.
6. When cooking, tie your long hair back and don’t wear really loose clothes (especially loose sleeves).
And one non-cooking item:
7. Douse cigarette and cigar butts, matches, and other burning objects with water before tossing into the trash.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch July 2013
First of all, the CVFD would like to officially welcome our new board member Lucy Blair.
Also, we’d like to remind everyone that free and confidential fire assessments are being offered by the CVFD to help residents learn ways to keep their home and property as safe from wildfire as possible. To schedule an assessment, please call Lisa at 212-1222 or email her at: lrvogel.@live.com. Should you do this? Yes, you should!
In addition, the following community members completed a First Responder refresher (for first aid response) that was taught by Cheryl Primero at the Oracle Fire Department: Bonnie Bell, Bob Evans, Jim Flood, Leslie Hellriegel, Gail Loveland, and Lisa Vogel.
Now, to this month’s subject. . . .
It’s hard to imagine that anyone could live in Southern Arizona and not be pretty familiar with how to stay safe in the heat. And yet, every year, there are people who make small errors that have huge consequences. Those consequences may include large hospital bills and death. Fortunately, with proper planning, there’s nothing about the kind of heat we experience here in southern Arizona that is inherently dangerous. We just have to plan ahead and be careful.
Of course, some people are more prone to heat difficulties than others. They include:
***People who are exercising or performing strenuous activity outdoors during the heat of the day.
***People who are very young or who are getting on in years.
***People with medical conditions such as obesity, lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes, or who have a temporary condition such as fever or fatigue.
***People under the influence of alcohol or drugs (both legal and illegal drugs can contribute to dehydration).
If you fall into one or more of those categories, please take extra precautions.
There are three main kinds of heat-related problems: heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion and heat cramps are not terribly serious in and of themselves, but if left untreated they can lead to heat stroke, which is a life threatening condition. Therefore, any sign of ‘just’ heat exhaustion or heat cramps needs to be taken very seriously and treated immediately.
According to Fire Service First Responder, written by David Limmer and Michael Grill, the initial signs and symptoms of a heat related injury include:
1. Muscle cramps
2. Weakness and/or exhaustion
3. Dizziness and/or faintness
5. Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
6. Skin that may be moist, pale, and normal-to-cool in temperature
However, as the condition gets worse, the following may be experienced next:
7. Pulse rate that begins to weaken
8. Altered mental status
9. Skin that becomes hot and dry (or hot and moist)
What to do if you notice any of the above symptoms in yourself or another? For the first six signs and symptoms, which are most likely to be related to heat exhaustion or heat cramps, you should:
A) Get out of the hot environment. This could mean going indoors or at least getting into the shade of the nearest mesquite bush.
B) Cool down: Ways to do this include using a fan (if indoors) or soaking the body with water. Or both.
C) Drink liquids. A sports drink that contains electrolytes is great, but plain old water will do wonders, too.
D) Monitor for signs and symptoms of heat stroke.
If any of signs and symptoms seven to eleven are present then it is likely you have heat stroke. Call 911 for an ambulance immediately. If outdoors, get inside as quickly as possible. Once indoors, loosen or remove clothing, apply cold packs to neck, armpits, and groin, keep the skin wet, use a fan on high, and monitor until the ambulance arrives.
Of course, the smart thing to do is to avoid the problem all together. This certainly does not mean you have to stay inside as long as the sun is up. It does mean, however, that you should take precautions. These include:
1) Drink more liquids than you think you need (water and perhaps occasionally a V8 or a sports drink).
2) If you are sweating a lot, eat something salty and perhaps also a banana or slice of watermelon (both of which contain potassium).
3) Wear appropriate clothes. Your clothes should be loose and cover the arms down to the wrists and the legs down to the ankles. You are best off with light colored clothes. Don’t forget that hat. Remember that keeping the body covered up will reduce direct exposure to the sun’s hot rays.
4) Take it a little easier in the hottest part of the day.
5) If you’ve been away for a few weeks to a cooler part of the country, reduce your time out in the heat at first to help your body adjust.
6) Avoid caffeine and alcohol before you go out as both can speed up dehydration.
And then? Enjoy your summer, everyone!!!
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch June 2013
Free Home Fire Assessments
Would you like free advice concerning on how to make your home safer in the event of an oncoming wildland fire? A few years ago, the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department offered this service to the community and, starting in late-June, it will once again be available. CVFD board members Bob Evans and Lisa Vogel recently attended a Firewise Training in Sierra Vista and are now able to perform assessments in relation to the dangers posed by wildland fire.
What might you find out? Well, no doubt there will be good news about ways in which your home and property is already well protected. However, you will probably also learn about things you can do to safeguard your home and property even further. Some of these things will likely cost you little or no money and may not take a lot of effort, either. Other things could be rather expensive in relation to your money or time. Here’s the good news: once the assessment is over, you’ll receive a form with suggestions, and you get to choose which, if any of them you wish to follow.
Many people use the assessment as a guide to use over a period of years. Imagine, for instance, you are advised that the cedar shake roof you’ve got on your house, while pretty, could easily catch fire should a spark land on it. Therefore, it would be a good idea to replace that roof. You might not have the money to purchase a metal roof (generally considered the best in relation to fire prevention) this year. But, sooner or later, you would need to replace that roof, anyway, right? You might then choose to replace it a little sooner and, when you do? Hello metal!
Ultimately, the choice of what to fix and what not to fix will be left with you, the homeowner. Your insurance company won’t see the assessment form, and no one will pressure you to make any of the recommended changes. This free service is about helping you do what you want to do anyway: have your home and property be as safe as possible, so you can live there comfortably without undue worry. Of course, no matter what changes you make, there is no guarantee that your home is safe from a fire racing through the San Pedro Valley. But there are lots of things you can do to raise the likelihood of your home surviving a fire. The CVFD would like to help you do that.
In order to schedule your free fire assessment, please contact Lisa at: email@example.com or call 212-1222.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch May 2013
Summer Fire Safety
As Fire Chief Max Madsen mentioned in his recent email to the community, now is the time of year when we need to be especially careful with fire. Not that care wasn’t needed previously. If, for example, you heat your home with wood, you should occasionally check and see that you have a spark arrestor in good repair over your chimney that stops embers from spreading on a windy day.
But now? Our local vegetation is already starting to dry up. Should a spark fly off from your BBQ, fire pit, or that slash pile you’ve finally decided needs to be burned, it could easily start a roaring blaze. According to one of the instructors at a recent Firewise Training in Sierra Vista, an ember from a fire in Australia was found to have travelled over twenty-five miles! And if an ember like that lands in the wrong place here in Cascabel, disastrous results could take place for both the land and our homes.
This doesn’t mean you can’t burn that slash pile. It just means care must be taken. There should, for instance, be a wide ring of dirt or other non-burnable material around the flame. The wind must be calm. It is often best to burn in the morning, when the humidity is highest. Should you ever be unsure if it is safe to burn, there is no need to wonder. You can call the CVFD and ask!
Remember how you’re supposed to always call 911 when there’s an emergency? Well, now, if you have non-emergency fire business, you can call the old fire number: 212-FIRE (3473). Often someone will be available to answer the phone; if not, just leave a message. Your call will be returned. In fact, even if you are completely certain you can burn safely, please always call 212-FIRE just to inform the CVFD of what day and time you intend to burn. That way, should a neighbor pass by, see the flames, and grow concerned, the fire department will already have a record that you intended to burn, and that neighbor can be told not to worry.
So, bottom-line, please remember:
If you have an emergency (fire, medical, etc.) call 911.
If you have fire department business (including providing information concerning when you will burn) call 212-Fire.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch April 2013
Fire Department Comparison: Cascabel vs. Lumbini
First of all, in case you haven’t heard, at the CVFD board meeting in January, the community voted in the following board members for the year 2013:
David Blocker (Treasurer)
Ross Maynard (President)
Adam Valdivia (Secretary)
Thanks to all who attended the annual meeting and voted!
As for the subject of this month’s dispatch. . . .
When choosing what community to live in, one aspect to take into account is the availability of emergency services. Obviously, in a rural community such as ours, those services are going to take longer to arrive on scene than in the middle of a city like Tucson. Yet not all rural and small town areas are the same. Consider the following comparison. . .
Which community offers the best fire protection: Lumbini, Nepal or Cascabel, Arizona?
Lumbini: a community of approximately 600 people, it is located about 18 miles north of the border with India, a country famous for its regionally diverse and delicious spicy food. Lumbini is also home to a rare bird, the Sarus Crane, which is a little over five feet tall.
Cascabel: a community of approximately 150 people, it is located about 100 miles north of the border with Mexico, a country famous for its regionally diverse and delicious spicy food. Cascabel is also home to an endangered bird, the Southwest Willow Flycatcher, which is a little over five inches long.
Note: Other than a few statistically unimportant differences, the two communities are exactly the same!
Lumbini: Most rain falls during the summer monsoon season, although there is generally some in the winter as well. In addition, spring winds are common in the afternoon. Average yearly rainfall: 59 inches.
Cascabel: Most rain falls during the summer monsoon season, although there is generally some in the winter as well. In addition, spring winds are common in the afternoon. Average yearly rainfall: 14 inches.
Note: Other than a statistically unimportant difference, the two communities are exactly the same!
Lumbini: The town of Bhairahawa is approximately 15 miles away (depending upon where in Lumbini one is coming from). Here can be found shopping, restaurants, and the closest hospital.
Cascabel: The town of Benson is approximately 28 miles away (depending upon where in Cascabel one is coming from). Here can be found shopping, restaurants, and the closest hospital.
Note: Other than a statistically unimportant difference, the two communities are exactly the same!
At this point, probably most of you are thinking, “Hhhmmmmm. . . It’s not like I can tell a Southwest Willow Flycatcher from a Gray Flycatcher or an Alder Flycatcher. Maybe I should move to Lumbini, where I bet even I can identify one of those humungo Sarus Cranes.” But hold your horses, Bucko! Before you start packing your bags, there is one more thing to consider.
Lumbini: Lumbini has no fire department of its own. The closest fire department is in Bhairahawa, where there are two (2) broken-down fire vehicles. By the time that fire department is able to respond to a house fire in Lumbini, the structure will have long since burnt down. In addition, every year there are grass fires in the general Lumbini area. Not only are many injuries from fire reported every year, but there are also occasional deaths.
Cascabel: Cascabel has, yes, the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department with five (5) fire vehicles spaced throughout the valley! In addition, due to our mutual aid agreements with neighboring communities, the fire departments in Pomerene, Benson, and beyond can be called in when needed. Since records started to be kept, no resident has ever died in Cascabel due to fire; the only known injury, in 2008, was minor.
For your safety and protection, the CVFD recommends you stay right here in Cascabel!
Thanks to Barbara Clark, Bob Evans, and Harold Elliot for the Cascabel information. Thanks to Lila Mani Sharma (aka Jupiter) for the Lumbini information.
Public Relations Officer
Fire Dispatch March 2013
Fire Safety In The Home Made Easy
Okay, taking care of your home is never actually easy and, when it comes to fire, there are no guarantees. But here is a handy-dandy list of some of the major things you should do to help keep your home safe in relation to fire. None of them will take very long, none of them are terribly expensive, and all of them will allow you to be better protected.
1. Install smoke alarms (review the fire dispatch from November 2012 for more information. You can find it on the CSVD website).
2. Purchase and maintain fire extinguishers.
3. Keep matches and lighters away from young children.
4. Put emergency phone numbers near each phone where you will automatically look when you need them.
5. Check electrical cords to insure they are not frayed, cracked, or have wires exposed, and don’t run the cords under rugs.
6. Use power strips that have built-in circuit breakers and surge protectors, and don’t overload outlets.
7. Install ground-fault circuit interrupters in outlets near sink areas and outdoors.
8. Unplug your small appliances when not using them.
9. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire and turn them off before leaving home or going to bed. Don’t forget to blow out candles then, too.
10. Clear all exits of obstructions.
11. Store cleaning products, aerosol cans, and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
12. Have your furnace inspected by a qualified technician every year. Generally speaking, this means don’t use your brother-in-law.
13. Change furnace filters regularly.
14. Keep the lint screen on your clothes dryer free of debris.
15. Clean fireplace, coal stove, and wood stove chimneys before each heating season.
16. If you do smoke, never do so in bed (or when lying down on the couch, either). Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America.
So, now? Get started! You probably have at least half of these done already, anyway. Just a little more effort, and you can feel confident you’ve done a reasonable amount to protect yourself, your home, and your family.
Thanks, once again, to Les Helfrich, who provided the information that this dispatch was culled from.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch February 2013
Young Children and Fire
Over the last couple of years, the number of young children in Cascabel has been rising. Even those of us a few years past the parenting stage still might have a passel of young’uns come to visit every now and again. Although children are, by nature, kind and sweet (yes, they are!!!), that doesn’t mean they aren’t also going to try and get into things that they have no business messing with. And what that means is that they need training when it comes to fire. Nearly 100,000 fires are started by children every year in the United States and, sad to say but true, there are children who are injured or killed by fire every year. So, here are some recommendations for what you should teach the children –especially the young ones – that visit or live with you.
A. Do Not Play With Fire or Things That Are Hot
Young children naturally want to do what they see adults doing, so if you use fire for cooking or heating, they will likely want to get in on the fun. Therefore, it is well worth the trouble of having a conversation with the tykes in question regarding that only adults can start and care for fire. And, since not all children do as they are told one hundred percent of the time, you might consider taking precautions by placing fire starting materials (matches, lighters, etc.) and candles away from where small hands can reach. It may be imperative that you secure certain areas of your home because it is easy for young children to forget, for instance, that the wood burning stove that was comfortably cool to lean against in the summer will not feel so pleasant in the winter.
B. Know What To Do In Case Of Fire (or other emergencies)
Once children understand language (especially when they can speak clearly), they can play a critical role in the fire suppression team. How? By calling 911! But they need to practice. You should not have your children actually call 911 as part of a practice session, but you can play the role of an emergency dispatcher and have your child pretend to call. Ask your child to provide her or his name and address, details about what the emergency is, and other related information. Remind your child to speak slowly and clearly, and to follow the directions the dispatcher provides. In most communities, it is recommended that the child be trained to grab a cell phone and make the call outside if the house is on fire. Here, in Cascabel, if you don’t have cell phone reception, you may have to either tell the child to call from inside and then run outside (if the fire is in another room) or to go to a neighbor’s home and call from there.
Regardless of whether the child makes the 911 phone call or not, the critical thing is that she or he must know to get out of a building that is on fire (and to take younger siblings, too). You may, for instance, have worked long and hard to teach your children that once they are put to bed, they must stay in that bed until morning. This, however, is one time when that rule needs to be disobeyed. You should develop a family fire escape plan in advance and practice it, so your children know exactly what to do.
C. Tell Children Not To Fear Firefighters
Unexpectedly seeing a fire fighter in full structural fire fighting gear (helmet, turn-out coat, rubber boots, and self-contained breathing apparatus) in their bedroom can scare young children, especially if they have just awoken to the strange sights, sounds, and smells caused by a structural fire. In fact, children have been known to run in the other direction and sometimes hide from the very people trying to save them. How can you get your little angels to understand that those strange looking people are not, in fact, zombies or monsters, but simply members of the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department? Contact the CVFD to set up an appointment and have your child chat with a fire fighter in full gear who will show her or him one of our fire trucks and explain how it works. Just call the fire department business line (212-FIRE) to make the appointment.
Thanks to Les Helfrich, who provided much of the information that this dispatch was culled from.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch January 2013
Hypothermia? In the snowbird vortex of the universe? It can’t happen here, can it?
Actually, yes it can. And it can start amazingly easily. Imagine these scenarios:
It’s dusk, you’re on the far corner of your property collecting kindling and – ooops! – you trip over a rock and down you go. When you try to stand, what do you suppose? Your ankle feels like it is broken, and you can’t put any weight on your foot. The short trip back home now has to be accomplished on hands and knees. But not to worry because your spouse will soon wonder why you haven’t returned and. . . no, wait. She or he is at a meeting at the Community Center and likely won’t return for at least an hour. Or longer. Maybe much longer. And, thinking you were only going to be gone for a short time, you hadn’t even bothered to put on your nice warm wool sweater.
Maybe you’re out on your horse, and knowing, safety-wise, that it’s better to not to go alone, you invited a friend. Both of you are on well-trained and relatively bombproof mounts. The weather is unseasonably warm when you start, and that 10% chance of rain doesn’t concern you. Why should it when it seems like half the time it doesn’t rain in Cascabel even when there’s a 100% chance? Except, of course, this time. And, what do you know? Concerned about getting dehydrated, you’d taken that warm wool sweater out of your saddlebag and replaced it with an extra bottle of water.
Perhaps you watch your health carefully and don’t take extra chances, especially now that you’ve gotten a little older. So, when you start feeling some highly unpleasant fever-like symptoms, probably a flu or virus (but, hey, how do you know it’s not cholera or Ebola?) you make an appointment with a specialist in Tucson and drive on in. Of course, while there, you figure you might as well get a little shopping done, which turns into a lot of shopping. The sun sets even before you get back on I-10, and it’s completely dark by the time you make it to the dirt portion of Cascabel Road. Then you hear that familiar plop plop sound. Who IS it that keeps dropping all those nails on the road, anyway? No problem, though, because you know your spare is good. And you remembered to bring along that nice warm wool sweater of yours, too. Except that when you look for it, you realize you left it at the doctor’s office after you were told to change into that adorable little paper outfit they had on hand. Just then the wind picks up. Obviously, your fever has picked up, too, because suddenly moving to Phoenix begins to feel like a good idea.
It could happen that easily. Your normal body temperature is right around 98.6 F but, if hypothermia sets in, your body temperature will go below 95F. At that point, according to the Mayo Clinic, any of the following symptoms may occur:
Clumsiness or lack of coordination
Slurred speech or mumbling
Confusion or difficulty thinking
Poor decision making, such as trying to remove warm clothes
Drowsiness or very low energy
Apathy or lack of concern about one's condition
Progressive loss of consciousness
Slow, shallow breathing
These symptoms often come with a lack of recognition that anything is wrong. In other words, a victim of hypothermia may have no awareness that she or he is experiencing a medical emergency. Yet, should these symptoms continue unabated, the result could be death.
A lot of things contribute to the likelihood of getting hypothermia, such as low temperatures, wetness, poor health, and being at either extreme of the age continuum. Of course, few of us live in Cascabel because we want to spend all day indoors to protect ourselves from the elements. Therefore, the smart thing to do is to take precautions if you know you are going to be out in cold weather (or if you might be unintentionally). Be aware that:
1) Alcohol, coffee, and tobacco all tend to allow heat to leave the body.
2) Foods with high energy, such as nuts or fruit, will help keep you warm.
3) The right clothes make a difference. Usually, this means layers so that, when it’s warmer, you can easily take some off and, when it cools down, you can put them right back on. Be careful about the fabric. Cotton absorbs moisture, and the resulting wetness causes the body to cool off. Wool and some synthetic materials will tend to keep moisture away. And don’t forget what your mother told you: wear a hat!
4) Take the weather into account. Temperature is an important factor, of course. In addition, the windier it is, the quicker heat will be driven from the body. And nothing chills you quicker than getting wet from a rain.
5) It may be wise to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Then, if you are late, that person can either go look for you or contact the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department (by dialing 911) to start a search.
Fortunately, even if someone does get hypothermia, there are things that can be done to help her or him. Here is what the Mayo Clinic recommends:
Be gentle. When you're helping a person with hypothermia, handle him or her gently. Limit movements to only those that are necessary. Don't massage or rub the person. Excessive, vigorous or jarring movements may trigger cardiac arrest.
Move the person out of the cold. Move the person to a warm, dry location if possible. If you're unable to move the person out of the cold, shield him or her from the cold and wind as much as you can.
Remove wet clothing. If the person is wearing wet clothing, remove them. Cut away clothing if necessary to avoid excessive movement.
Cover the person with blankets. Use layers of dry blankets or coats to warm the person. Cover the person's head, leaving only the face exposed.
Insulate the person's body from the cold ground. If you're outside, lay the person on her or his back on a blanket or other warm surface.
Monitor breathing. A person with severe hypothermia may appear unconscious, with no apparent signs of a pulse or breathing. If the person's breathing has stopped or appears dangerously low or shallow, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately if you're trained.
Share body heat. To warm the person's body, remove your clothing and lie next to the person, making skin-to-skin contact. Then cover both of your bodies with blankets.
Provide warm beverages. If the affected person is alert and able to swallow, provide a warm, nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated beverage to help warm the body.
Use warm, dry compresses. Use a first-aid warm compress (a plastic fluid-filled bag that warms up when squeezed), or a makeshift compress of warm water in a plastic bottle or a dryer-warmed towel. Apply a compress only to the neck, chest wall or groin. Don't apply a warm compress to the arms or legs. Heat applied to the arms and legs forces cold blood back toward the heart, lungs and brain, causing the core body temperature to drop. This can be fatal.
Don't apply direct heat. Don't use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp to warm the person. The extreme heat can damage the skin or even worse, cause irregular heartbeats so severe that they can cause the heart to stop.
Surprisingly enough, one thing the Mayo Clinic didn’t mention is that you should call the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department (by dialing 911) for all suspected cases of hypothermia. But you definitely should! Members with first aid training and experience will be happy to respond. After all, it may be difficult to determine how badly a hypothermia victim is doing, especially if the victim is you yourself.
Yes, accidents can happen, no matter how careful you are. But with a little forethought, hypothermia can usually be avoided or, at the very least, successfully treated. This is important to know, even in southern Arizona. It really does get a bit chilly here occasionally. The wind does sometimes blow. And, every great once in a while, it has even been known to rain.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch December 2012
The Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department is here to put out unwanted, destructive, and dangerous fire, both wildland and structural. But, as we all know, fire can also serve a useful purpose. In nature it renews. In our homes it cooks and heats. And for poets? It serves as a metaphor for almost everything. Here are some examples from around the world.
Oh for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heave of imagination. . .
Gie me spark o’ Nature’s fire,
That’s a’ the learning I desire.
-- Robert Burns
The hand that holds the brand will never be burned by the fire.
-- Tuareg (North Africa) saying
All things are an exchange for fire and fire for all things. . . .
O Fire, you are the countenance of all the Gods and of all learned men.
Yours is the power to penetrate the innermost recesses of the human heart and discover the truth.
-- Hindu mantra before the Sacred Fire
If you prefer smoke over fire
then get up now and leave.
For I do not intend to perfume
your mind's clothing
with more sooty knowledge.
No, I have something else in mind.
Today I hold a flame in my left hand
and a sword in my right.
There will be no damage control today.
For God is in a mood
to plunder your riches and
fling you nakedly
into such breathtaking poverty
that all that will be left of you
will be a tendency to shine.
So don't just sit around this flame
choking on your mind.
For this is no campfire song
to mindlessly mantra yourself to sleep with.
Jump now into the
space between thoughts
and exit this dream
before I burn the damn place down.
What is important In Infinity?
What is important In Eternity?
What is important In Immortality?
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire –
-- Mary Oliver
A burning heart is what I want; consort with burning!
Kindle in the heart the flame of love,
And burn up utterly thoughts and fine expressions.
sometimes I think the gods
deliberately keep pushing me
into the fire
just to hear me
a few good
they just aren't going to
let me retire
silk scarf about neck
giving lectures at
the gods need me to
they must be terribly
bored with all
and I am too.
and now my cigarette lighter
has gone dry.
I sit here
this kind of fire
they can't give
-- Charles Bukowski
We only live, we only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
-- T.S. Eliot
It was a lone tree burning on the desert. A heraldic tree that the passing storm had left afire. The solitary pilgrim drawn up before it had traveled far to be here and he knelt in the hot sand and held his numbed hands out while all about in that circle attended companies of lesser auxiliaries routed forth into the inordinate day, small owls that crouched silently and stood from foot to foot and tarantulas and solpugas and vinegarroons and the vicious mygale spiders and beaded lizards with mouths black as a chowdog's, deadly to man, and the little desert basilisks that jet blood from their eyes and the small sandvipers like seemly gods, silent and the same, in Jeda, in Babylon. A constellation of ignited eyes that edged the ring of light all bound in a precarious truce before this torch whose brightness had set back the stars in their sockets.
-- Cormac McCarthy
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire. . . .
-- Robert Frost
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch November 2012
We all know we should have smoke alarms, and we all know we should check them regularly. But has the following ever happened to you?
a) You have a minor mishap in the kitchen, and the smoke alarm goes off. What do you do? Pull the battery from the alarm to shut the thing off until the smoke gets cleared out. It’s another three years before you remember to put the battery back in.
b) Your smoke alarm starts giving off its occasional warning chirp to let you know the battery is running low. You look for new batteries, but you’re all out. So, you make plans to purchase more, but what do you know? Even if you do buy them, it’s another three years before you remember to put the battery back in.
A task force in Ohio studying smoke alarms found out that the main cause of smoke alarm failure during fire was battery related. And that’s for people who do have smoke alarms. Some people, of course, don’t even have any, and others have them in the wrong place. But properly placed smoke alarms really do save lives. This same task force found that the use of smoke alarms resulted in a considerable reduction in fire related deaths since 1975. They also stated that, statistically speaking, there was no difference between the two main kinds of smoke alarms available on the market (photo-electronic or ionization) so that’s the one thing no one need worry about.
What does matter, though, is where the smoke alarms are placed. The purpose of a smoke alarm is to inform you of the existence of fire. When you are awake, you will probably know about the fire because you will see it and smell it. You are much less likely to be aware of a fire when you are asleep. Therefore, smoke alarms should certainly be in or near the bedrooms. For some people, a smoke alarm might be needed near the living room couch, too. As, if you are not sleeping, you are likely to hear a smoke alarm sounding throughout most of the house, you certainly don’t need them in every room. It is, however, recommended that you have at least one on every floor. The one place that smoke alarms are not usually recommended is the kitchen. Why? Because a kitchen smoke alarm is likely to go off for non-emergency reasons, and you are then more likely to take those batteries out and forget to put them back in.
Ultimately, the number of smoke alarms in a one-story house should be based on the sleep locations. If the home contains two bedrooms that are next to each other and, typically, the doors are left slightly ajar when the occupants are sleeping, one alarm for both (located right outside both bedrooms) is likely to be sufficient. If the sleeping areas are on opposite sides of the house, if an occupant sleeps especially deeply, or if an occupant is hard of hearing, it may be best to have individual smoke alarms for each bedroom. Once those smoke alarms are up, a regular schedule of checking is needed. Don’t assume the alarm will chirp when the battery is low even if the packaging said it would.
Another thing that needs to be done before a fire concerns what to do in the event the smoke alarm goes off in the middle of the night. For instance, if you have a one-story home, the safest way to exit may be through a window. However, if you haven’t planned ahead, you may make the mistake of automatically going through the door. . . perhaps right into a smoke filled room in which you cannot breath. Even when there are children sleeping in bedrooms on the other end of the house, it may be safer to exit out of your bedroom window and then enter back into the house through a window in the children’s room. These are things that should be planned beforehand when your mind is clear, so you can analyze potential situations rationally.
If you’d like to read the findings of the study mentioned above, you can locate it at http://www.com.ohio.gov/fire/ Thanks to Les Helfrich for providing the original article from Fire Chief Magazine upon which this dispatch was based.
And, by the way, the CVFD’s annual meeting is coming up in January. You are invited to attend, you are invited to vote for the board members for the years 2013, and you are invited to run for a position of the board yourself. You can even do all three!
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch October 2012
CVFD Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How
Fire Chief: Max Madsen
EMS Captain: Vacant
Vice President: Bob Evans
Secretary: Adam Valdivia
Treasurer: David Blocker
Public Information Officer: Lisa Vogel
Board Member: George Bushno
Board Member: Robert Farrington
Board Member: Charlie Ffolliott
Board Member: Ross Maynard
Board Member: Donna Quisenberry
During our annual meeting in January, the CVFD will welcome all members of the Cascabel community to consider joining the board. In addition, we are actively looking for someone to serve as the board president. Furthermore, the EMS captain position is available. Please consider joining us in one of these capacities! Or all of them!
The general Cascabel community, whose generosity in terms of membership, willingness to help their neighbors in times of need, and financial assistance is greatly appreciated.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank both Gordan Beasley and Linda Beasley for all the work they’ve done, in various roles, for the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department and for the community as a whole.
The Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department covers approximately six hundred square miles of the San Pedro River valley, from mile post seven of Cascabel Road north to the junction of Redington Road, and approximately one mile on the east and west sides of the river. The department owns a wide variety of wildland fire fighting gear (including nomax clothes, helmets, backpacks, fire shelters, and fire fighting tools such as mcleods, pulaskis, bladder pumps, etc.) and structural fire fighting equipment (including turnouts, self-contained breathing apparatus, hose, and various hand tools, etc.). In addition, the fire department has two portable tanks useful for drafting water out of during structural or wildland fire fighting; the larger one holds 3,000 gallons of water. Fire vehicles include #101 (a water tender that holds 2,000 gallons of water), 102 (a water tender that holds 1,700 gallons of water) , 106 (which has a pump and holds 250 gallons of water), and C-10 (which has a pump and holds 200 gallons of water). For emergency medical response, the CVFD has the rescue truck Engine 107.
--- Vehicle 102, located at Nick Strait’s residence, is the first response vehicle for fires in the southern section.
--- Vehicle 106, located at Donna and George Bushnell’s residence, is the first response vehicle for fires in the northern section.
--- Vehicles 101 and C-10, located at Max Madsen’s residence, are the chief’s vehicles to be used in response to all incidents.
--- Vehicle 107, located at Lisa Vogel’s residence, is the EMS vehicle to be used in response to all EMS incidents.
--- Normally there is a fire vehicle located at David Blocker and Barbara Clark’s residence, and it would be considered the first response vehicle for fires in the middle section. However, due to mechanical difficulties, vehicle 101 is currently under repair, so the other fire vehicles needed to be shifted around.
The Cascabel Fire Department is here to:
a) Protect land and property, both private and public.
b) Offer medical assistance in relation to illness and injury to residents and visitors.
c) Provide information to residents concerning fire prevention and first aid.
d) Assist other agencies outside the area when called upon to do so based on signed memorandums of understanding.
At the suggestion of Barbara Clark, and with the help of Jacquie Dale, David Omick, Bob Schultz, Stephanie Smallhouse and a whole bunch of other people too numerous to list, the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department was started in 2001 by Les Helfrich.
Past fire chiefs:
Les Helfrich (2001 to 2007)
Jim EtsHokin (2007 to 2012)
Max Madsen (2012 to current)
Approximate dates of past board presidents:
Les Helfrich (2001 to 2002)
Bob Schultz (2003 to 2005)
Gary Mattausch (2006)
Jacquie Dale (2007 to 2008)
Gordan Beasley (2009 to 2012)
To access the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department for an emergency such as fire, medical, or other type of incident, call 911. Provide your exact address, being sure to include the nearest mile maker on Cascabel Road.
The other how
The community’s generous financial support and willingness to help out at a moment’s notice when a neighbor is in need has made ALL the difference. Thank you to everyone!
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch September 2012
All About 911
In cases of emergency (fire, medical, vehicle accident, etc.) what number should you call for emergency response in the general Cascabel area?
--- The answer is: 911 (nine-one-one). This includes all emergencies such as fire, medical, and any other kind of situation that calls for a response.
What information should you tell the 911 operator?
--- The 911 operators know exactly what questions to ask. For instance, she or he will always ask for your name, address, and phone number (so first responders can call you back if needed). Make sure to give them this information clearly even if you are upset, worried, or in pain. In addition, you MUST tell the 911 operator exactly how to access the address. This means saying something like: “The address is 6281 N. Cielo Azul. Cielo Azul is on the east side of Cascabel Road between mile marker 25 and 26.” Always tell the operator the name of the main road to access the location and the mile marker on that main road.
What happens after you speak to the 911 operator?
--- She or he will dispatch the appropriate emergency personnel such as the Cascabel Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD), ambulance, and assisting agencies by radio or phone so that you will get the appropriate help you need as quickly as possible. Although the CVFD has more limited equipment and personnel, we can arrive at the scene much faster, start providing necessary assistance, and give valuable information to incoming emergency personnel so they will be prepared when they arrive.
Should you never call 212-FIRE yourself?
--- 212-FIRE is the dispatch line for the CVFD. If, for any reason, you are worried AFTER calling 911 that emergency help might not be on the way or that the 911 operator may have misunderstood something you said, wait a few minutes after you hang up with 911. This gives the 911 operator a chance to communicate with the CVFD. Then call 212-FIRE yourself. Chances are that you will be informed that the CVFD already knows about the call and is in process of responding to your location. Please do keep in mind that the 212-FIRE phone system has not been working perfectly. You stand a much better chance of getting the fastest and most appropriate response possible by calling 911 first as opposed to calling 212-FIRE first.
Is there any difference in cost if you call 911 first instead of 212-FIRE?
--- No. There is no charge for having a fire truck, rescue truck, or ambulance show up at your door, whether it is from the CVFD or any other agency. On the other hand, if you are transported by ambulance to a medical facility, for instance, then you will be charged.
What if you don’t have an emergency, but you need to talk to someone in the CVFD or you want information about an incident that is going on?
--- The CVFD is in process of setting up a system for this purpose. Your patience is very greatly appreciated.
What if you have neighbors that you know don’t have email or aren’t on the Cascabel listerve? Should you share this information with them?
--- Are you kidding? Yes! Please do!! Everyone needs to know that they should call 911 first for all emergency response!!!
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch August 2012
Arizona Poison Control
Question: What is the best way to handle the following medical issue? (The correct answer is at the bottom.)
It’s Friday evening, and you notice a slight swelling, with no pain, puncture mark, or discoloration of any kind on the bottom of the ball of your foot. You don’t remember having gotten any bites or stings, nor were there any other mechanisms of injury. The next day you notice that the swelling is a little worse, and there is a bit of discomfort when you walk. By Sunday morning, the swelling has increased such that it is now also visible on the top of your foot, and the discomfort has gotten sufficiently bad to cause you to limp slightly when you walk. What should you do?
A) Immediately call 911 and demand chopper transport, so you can be rushed to the U.M.C. Trauma Center in Tucson for advanced life support.
B) Ignore it. Unless your foot comes off when you remove your boots, who cares?
C) Write your will and ask a few friends to rush over and act as witnesses before you lose consciousness. Nothing can save you now! There’s no hope!! You are going to die!!!
D) Contact the Arizona Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 and get free advice to help determine what might be wrong, how serious it is, and if you should seek medical attention.
Arizona Poison what?
The Arizona Poison Control phone number is answered twenty-four hours a day. In all areas of Arizona other than Maricopa County, it is answered by pharmacists with a specialty in toxicology. In Maricopa County, it is answered by nurses with a specialty in toxicology. Either way, someone is always available to handle a wide variety of calls concerning numerous kinds of problems: bites (such as black widow, rattlesnake, and kissing bug), stings (such as bee and scorpion), unintentional overdoses (from both physician prescribed medication and over-the-counter/alternative sources), intentional overdoses (such as suicide attempts) and, in general, anything on your skin, in your nasal passages, or in your digestive tract that has the potential to cause harm.
Even if you are not sure you have a problem, you can call the Arizona Poison Control for free advice. They will assist in helping determine if you should not worry about it, if you should seek medical assistance from your local doctor, if you should go to the hospital, or if you should call 911 for emergency transport. As you never know when you’ll need to call, write the number (1-800-222-1222) in an obvious place where you would automatically look, such as your Cascabel Telephone Directory, so you’ll have it when you need it.
Thanks to Annie Wilkinson for providing much of this information.
And the answer to the above question? Call the Arizona Poison Control, of course! In this case, the pharmacist who answered the phone said that, although it sounded like a bite or sting of some kind, these symptoms could be caused by a medical issue as well. He therefore recommended that at the forty-eight hour mark, if the swelling and discomfort had not decreased, this person plan to seek medical care the next day (Monday) with her local physician. Fortunately, the swelling and discomfort did begin to dissipate shortly thereafter, and no medical attention was sought. By calling Arizona Poison Control, needless worry was alleviated because she felt confident she knew exactly what guidelines to follow.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch July 2012
Last Minute Instructions For Evacuation
In the event of an evacuation: last minute instructions
First of all is the obvious. . . if we are in a pre-evacuation state, when it appears an evacuation may be imminent, you don’t have to wait. You can begin packing your things and head out of dodge at any point you wish. You can also contact your neighbors beforehand and assist them. For instance, the Oasis, with seven hundred and fifty birds, would likely greatly appreciate if you would help them with bird evacuation. As birds tend to be very sensitive to smoke, they might very well need to evacuate well before the rest of us.
Imagine this: An officer has knocks on your door and informs you that there is an evacuation order in place. She or he gives you an amount of time to leave and tells you in what direction to go.
Question: What should you do?
Answer: Exactly what you’ve been told to do.
Even if you are not as prepared as you would have liked to be, you really must leave within the time you have been given. Why? First of all, you may get in the way of emergency personnel coming in if you take longer. They are coming to protect your home and property. Please help them do that by not getting in the way. Second of all, you may die if you take longer. The time you’ve been given is an estimation of how long its going to be safe for you to get out. But we all know how quick the wind can pick up or change direction. You are risking your life and the lives of your loved ones if you dilly-dally, trying to locate your Aunt Milly’s old lace doilies to take with you.
You also really do need to go in the direction you’ve been told to go. Even if, in your own estimation, it would be safe to go south when you’ve been told to go north, please remember that, in all likelihood, the decision has been made by a weather expert who knows how to read the weather better than most of us do. In addition, as mentioned above, if you are going out unexpectedly when emergency personnel are coming in, an accident can easily occur.
What are the last few things you should do IF there is time? Here are some recommendations, many from the Fry Fire District Emergency Evacuation Plan, which may apply to your situation:
1) Bring things indoors such as lawn furniture, trash cans, kiddie pools, toys, garden equipment, hanging plants, flags, wind chimes and any other lightweight objects may fly around in fire-generated wind.
2) Look for potential hazards. Dead limbs overhead can blow or break off and block driveways, or fly onto power lines, roof or windows in high winds. Remove and drag them away from the house.
3) Turn off the electricity at the main fuse or break and water into the house. Dig to clear underground valve boxes.
4) Turn off the propane gas at the tank. Rake around propane tank, removing grass and leaves to 15 feet away.
5) Gasoline tanks on metal stands should be checked for clearance from flammable materials; secure hose well above ground. Move flammable liquids and portable propane tanks away from structures.
6) Cover the outside of all windows of your home. Large, single-pane picture windows are especially prone to shatter in the heat of a fire, admitting burning embers to an otherwise fire-safe house.
7) Move objects that may get damaged by wind, heat or water to safer areas of your home. Move television sets, computers, stereo and electronic equipment, firearms, and easily moveable appliances like a microwave oven to higher levels of your home and away from windows. Wrap them in sheets, wool blankets, rugs, or burlap. Put ammunition into refrigerator or pack it for transport out.
8) If you’ve got time, check with your neighbors to see if they need any help. Another thought is to stop by the Oasis is it is on the way, and see if they need any help with bird evacuation.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch June 2012
Animals and Evacuation
Aside from our human family, the thing many of us care most about are the domestic animals we share our homes and property with. It’s therefore important to have plans in place for their evacuation prior to an emergency occurring. Everyone’s situation is different, so the following is not meant to be an all inclusive list but rather some suggestions that may get you thinking about your own particular circumstances.
Some cats come when you call. Many don’t. Some can usually be found in their favorite chair (generally the one that used to be your favorite). Others seem to hide in undiscovered dimensions mere humans cannot access. And, of course, while some spend their days indoors, others call the world their own. What this means is that you may not be able to find your favorite felines when an evacuation order occurs. It therefore would be helpful to decide in advance how long you are willing to look for them, so you don’t put your own life at risk unnecessarily. In addition, it’s a good idea to have what you need for transportation in advance. If you’ve got ten cats and only two carrying cases, consider having eight cardboard boxes around for just in case purposes. You don’t want a situation where you can’t get into your vehicle to drive away for fear that half of your cats are going to bolt the second you open the driver’s side door.
Generally more amenable to human commands, most dogs are going to be less troublesome to catch and transport than at least some cats. However, if you’ve got quite a few dogs and only a small space left over in your vehicle for them, get ready to squeeze. Under these circumstances, dogs that don’t get along very well may become downright vicious. Consider separating them between a human being who is also in the vehicle and is prepared to keep the peace.
If you have sufficient trailer space for every equine on your property, you’re in good shape. Even so, under adverse conditions, equines that normally don’t load well to begin with may make up their minds that they just ain’t going in. If the animal refuses to load or if you don’t have enough trailer space to begin with, consider the following possibilities, most of which were recommended by Joyce Hostetter (previously of J-Six Stable):
a) Put your equines in pens that have lots of cleared area around them. This means no grass, weeds, or trees. Do not put them in a barn in or a pen near a barn in case it catches fire. Wet down the area of the pen completely and, if possible, consider leaving sprinklers running continuously.
b) If the equine is scared and refuses to cooperate, try using a blindfold (it might be a good idea to practice with one beforehand) to get the animal either into the trailer or into the pen.
c) Another handy trick: Sue Newman once saw someone sitting in a truck bed, lead line in hand, his horse following along.
d) If there are no other alternatives, you might consider turning the equine loose as a last resort. Make sure the barn doors and other areas the animal associates with safety are locked, so she or he cannot get in. There’s no guarantee, but if you are lucky, turning equines loose may save their lives.
What should you bring when you evacuate with animals? Food and water is a must, as are vet records, leashes/lead lines, food and water bowls, and medications. Ideally, you’ve planned ahead and know of a place to board your animals for the duration. Keep in mind that some facilities require proof of vaccinations before they will accept an animal. And, if the evacuation is a large one, the local boarding facilities may fill quickly, so have a short list of places a little further away, too.
One other thing: If someone is caring for your animals while you are away from home during fire season, it would be a good idea to have a conversation concerning your expectations about care in relation to an evacuation. Remember that an animal that comes when you call doesn’t necessarily respond the same way for anyone else. You might consider a practice run with that person beforehand.
Do you have any suggestions about how to handle animals during an evacuation that hasn’t been covered in this dispatch? Maybe something useful for the goats, parrots, alpacas, goldfish, or pterodactyls living here in Cascabel? If so, email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be included in dispatch #4.
Public Information Officer
Fire Dispatch May 2012
Preparing For Fire Season
Let’s be honest. If we’ve got gale force winds, it may be your home and property cannot be saved no matter what you’ve done in advance. However, about 99% of the time, your actions can make a BIG difference in protecting your home and property. You can decrease the likelihood that your home and out buildings will catch on fire, and you can decrease the amount of damage that will likely occur should a spark with your address on it come flying your way.
The primary goal of preparing your home is fuel reduction. Basically, some materials burn easily, some not so easily, and some hardly at all. Here are a few recommendations from www.firewise.com as well as the Fry Fire District Emergency Evacuation Plan about what you can do to protect your home and property.
1. For an area of at least thirty feet all around your home, provide room for fire suppression equipment to gain access in the event of an emergency. Any plantings you have in that area should be well-spaced and be limited to low flammability species.
2. For an area of between one to two hundred feet around your home, check both at the beginning and the middle of fire season for any woody plants that have died and remove them. In addition, cut down dead limbs on otherwise live trees. In the event we’ve had enough rain that grass has grown and since dried, pull it out. Fire can easily travel, especially up a hillside, with only a thin grass cover. Then, encountering thicker fuel, it can take hold and create a fire hot enough to endanger a structure. Furthermore, a strong wind can carry live sparks further than you would think. Remember: it only takes one spark to start a structure fire.
3. Especially if you’ve got non-native species growing around your home, keep them well-watered throughout the summer months. Unused to our hot desert sun, they may be more likely than natives species to dry out, catch fire quickly, and burn hot.
4. Be sure to rake under open decks, walkways, or wheelchair ramps. If there are wooden power poles nearby, rake them free of debris. Do the same in the area around your well. Keep in mind that, depending upon where your well is, no power at the house may mean no water with which to fight the fire. That would be a very unfortunate circumstance.
5. Check your roof, gutters and eaves for dried leaves and other flammable debris. This can make a huge difference in the event a stray spark lands on the roof.
B. Other combustible materials
1. Firewood. Many people like to store their firewood near the house for easy access, but not too many of us are heating our homes during the summer months. If you’ve got leftover firewood, move it away from all buildings.
2. Roof materials. Thinking about a new roof? There are many fire resistant roofing materials to consider. These include Class-A asphalt shingles, metal, slate, and clay tile. You might also add a fire-resistant sub-roof for added protection.
3. Wall materials. Whether it’s the house or an out building, remember that some wall materials resist heat and flames better than other. The more fire resistant ones include stucco, cement, plaster, brick, and concrete masonry.
4. Windows. If you are considering putting in new windows, tempered and double-pane glass will make your home more fire resistant.
5. Assorted. What about any new decks, patios, or fences you’re considering? Even patio furniture can make a difference. If they are not fire resistant, they make your whole home vulnerable to ignition.
Detailed information about landscaping and construction to make your home safer can be found at www.firewise.org
From there, click on “information and resources.”
Then click on “homeowners.”
Then click on “Firewise Landscape/Construction guide.”
The following website provides recommendations about less flammable plants at 3,000 feet or higher in Arizona:
Public Information Officer