As we approach the time of year where we celebrate the founding of our nation, Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue wants to encourage each of you to exercise good safety practices as you enjoy the 4th of July holidays.



The 4th of July is the cause of a great number of fires and burn injuries due to fireworks. According to national statistics, more than 10,000 citizens are injured each year by the misuse of common and illegally manufactured fireworks. These injuries result in millions of dollars in medical and legal expenses, and untold suffering. The injuries include burns and the loss of fingers, limbs, vision or hearing; most injuries leave permanent scarring. The overwhelming majority of persons injured are younger than 20 years old.


Fireworks can cause fires in dry brush and grass, and also cause fires that destroy or damage homes. Fires are caused by careless handling of fireworks in areas exposed to sparks or live fireworks. Most fireworks burn injuries involve children. These are usually burns to the hands and eyes causing vision impairment and disfiguring scars. Sparklers are the biggest danger to children. A tip temperature at the end of the sparkler reaches 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily cause a burn.


Celebrate Safely, It’s Your Responsibility

Adult supervision around fireworks is important. Only adults should light fireworks and handle matches and lighters. Set family boundaries and talk with children about celebrating safely. Use care in selecting the area for discharge of fireworks, and the type of fireworks appropriate for that area. Weather conditions make grasses and other vegetation dry and vulnerable to fire.


Before you light fireworks...


Be Prepared:

  • Use legal fireworks, available at licensed outlets

  • Store fireworks out of children’s reach.

  • Keep pets safe indoors.

  • Always keep water handy.

Be Safe:

  • Only adults should light fireworks.

  • Only use outdoors.

  • Do not throw fireworks or hold in your hand.

  • Protect your eyes.

  • Light one firework at a time and move away quickly.

  • Never relight a "dud".

Be Responsible:

  • Soak used fireworks in water.

  • Be considerate--clean up used fireworks.

  • Keep matches and lighters away from children.

Resources

  • For more information on fireworks injuries, see cpsc.gov: https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks

  • To learn more about fireworks safety visit the Washington State Fire Marshal's website at: www.wsp.wa.gov/fireworks/default.htm

Power outages can happen any time of year, but they are more likely during the winter months. For those of you that use generators during these outages, Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue would like to offer these safety tips:


Don't overload your generator

  • Determine the amount of power you will need to operate those things you plan to connect to the generator.

  • Light bulb wattage indicates the power needed for lighting. Appliance and equipment labels indicate their power requirements.

  • If you can’t determine the amount of power you will need, ask an electrician.

  • Make sure your generator produces more power than will be drawn by the things you connect to the generator, including the initial surge when it is turned on. If your generator does not produce enough power to operate everything at once, stagger the use of your equipment.

  • If your equipment draws more power than the generator can produce, you may blow a fuse on the generator or damage the connected equipment.

Use your generator safely

  • Incorrect generator use can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution and fire. Follow the directions supplied with the generator.

Never use a portable generator indoors

  • Never use a portable generator in a garage, carport, basement, crawl space or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home.

  • If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away — do not delay!

  • Install home CO alarms that are battery-operated or have battery back-up. Test batteries frequently and replace when needed.

Using your generator outdoors

  • Place the generator away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow CO to come indoors.

  • To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry. Do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure. Make sure your hands are dry before touching the generator.

Use and store generator fuel safely

  • Turn the generator off and let it cool before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

  • Store generator fuel in an approved safety can outside of living areas in a locked shed or other protected area. Local laws may restrict use or storage of fuel. Ask your local fire department for information.

  • If you spill fuel or do not seal its container properly, invisible vapors can travel along the ground and be ignited by an appliance’s pilot light or arcs from electric switches in the appliance.

  • Use the type of fuel recommended in the generator instructions or on its label.

Any burning fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal creates carbon monoxide (CO) gas.


What is carbon monoxide?

  • Each year hundreds of people die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by installing CO alarms in the home. CO is an invisible, odorless gas that is produced by burning wood, charcoal, natural gas, gasoline, propane, oil, methane, and other common fuels.

  • CO is also produced by automobiles and other gasoline or diesel engines. Electrical equipment does not produce carbon monoxide.

  • CO enters the body, undetected, through your breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with the flu, food poisoning, or other illness. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, or shortness of breath.

  • High levels of CO can cause death within just a few minutes. A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time.

  • Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm and the sound of a CO alarm.

Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home.

  • CO alarms can be battery-powered, plugged into an outlet, or hardwired into a home's electrical system. Buy only CO alarms that bear the label of an independent testing laboratory. Install a CO alarm outside your home's sleeping areas. If sleeping areas are spaced far apart, each area will need a CO alarm.

When you hear the sound of a CO alarm

  • If the CO warning signal sounds, immediately go to a fresh air location and call 911. Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue will come and investigate your problem for you using air monitoring equipment. Stay at the fresh air location until emergency personnel tell you it is safe. If the trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries or other problems.

Reducing CO Risk

  • When you are buying home heating or cooking equipment, purchase only products that bear the label of an independent testing laboratory. Have all fuel-burning appliances (furnaces, stoves, space heaters, dryers, and water heaters) professionally installed and maintained.

  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle, generator, or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.

  • Never use an oven to heat your home. Make sure your wood or coal-burning stove is properly ventilated directly into the chimney flue. Be sure the chimney flue is fully open when you use your fireplace. Have all chimneys cleaned and inspected once a year.

  • Have your fuel-burning home heating system (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood and coal stoves) - including the flue - inspected by a professional before each heating season.

  • Keep dryer, stove, furnace, and fireplace vents clear of ice, snow, dirt, leaves, and other debris.

As always, never hesitate to call Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue to discuss any fire and health safety concerns that you have. Our dedicated and professional staff loves to be involved in making our community a safer place to live, work, and play.