Brought to you by ISU Public Safety and the ISU Safety Committee June, 2004
Summer Fire Safety
If you live in the rural-urban interface, the point where homes meet combustible vegetation, you must increase your role to protect lives and property in your community beyond the city limits.
In 2002, 835 homes were destroyed by wildfire in the United States. Some insurance companies are now requiring homes to have a defensible space. Spring is a good time to clear away dead brush and create a fire-free space around the home.
Tips For Making Your Property Fire Resistant
- Keep lawns trimmed, leaves raked, and the roof and rain-gutters free of debris such as dead limbs and leaves.
- Create a defensible space by thinning trees and brush within 30 feet around your home.
- Landscape your property with fire resistant plants and vegetation to prevent fire from spreading quickly.
- Post home address signs that are clearly visible from the road.
- Provide emergency vehicle access with properly constructed driveways and roadways, at least 12 feet wide for adequate turnaround space.
- Make sure water resources, such as hydrants and ponds, are accessible to the fire department.
- Burning your yard waste is a fire hazard. Check with the local fire agency for fire permit requirements and restricted burning times.
- Have chimneys, wood stoves and home heating systems inspected and cleared annually by a certified specialist.
- Know how to contact fire emergency services in your area.
- Plan ahead. Make sure you and your family are prepared for a fire emergency.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
- Invite the local fire department to inspect your property and offer advise on other things you might do to create a fire-free space around your home.
Tips For Campfire Safety
Despite years of public education efforts, campfires are still a major cause of wildfires.
- Check with local agencies for campfire restrictions in your area before you leave.
- Locate your campfire a safe distance from tents, trees and buildings.
- Dig a pit 4-6 inches deep on level ground away from any overhanging vegetation. Scrape away grass and needles within a 10-foot diameter. Circle the pit with sizable rocks that will prevent embers and sparks from escaping.
- Store firewood upwind and at least 10 feet away from the pit.
- Keep a shovel and bucket of water near the pit.
- Donít stack fuel too high in the fire pit. Avoid disturbing the fire to prevent creation of sparks and floating embers.
- Be sure the campfire is out before going to bed or leaving the area. NEVER leave your fire unattended.
- Slowly add water to extinguish the flames. Mix in some dirt and break apart the remaining wood and coals with a shovel. Continue adding water until no more steam is produced. Leave your fire pit only when it is cool enough to touch the remains with your bare hand. (Courtesy Keep Idaho Green)
Tips For Fireworks Safety
The following are examples of injuries and fires from legal and illegal fireworks:
A 33-year-old man was setting off mortar style fireworks out of a black plastic pipe while in his backyard. As he leaned over one of the tubes and lit the fuse, the fireworks immediately went off striking him in the face. He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead from head injuries.
A 6-inch fountain that shot colored fireballs injured a 4-year-old girl. When the fountain tipped over, the victim was struck in the chest by a fireball. She sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns to her chest and neck. She was hospitalized for three weeks for burn treatment and skin grafts.
A 15-year-old male tied together the wires of 10 sparklers. The sparklers ignited quickly and burned down very fast, finally exploding in his hand. The victim sustained a five-inch long laceration to his hand and forearm, exposing muscle. Also, debris from the explosion lodged in his hand and arm. The victim had plastic surgery and has recovered.
July 2003, On the evening of July 4th, a fire destroyed over 100 acres of sagebrush wildlife habitat north of Lake Lowell. The fire appeared to have started when illegal fireworks landed on a hillside thick with dry grasses.
The Black Rock Fire which destroyed 2,050 acres of deer habitat between Pocatello and Inkom was caused by fireworks.
- Fireworks should be used with extreme caution.
- Older children should be closely supervised, and younger children should not be allowed to play with fireworks.
- Be sure that other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions before using fireworks.
- Light only fireworks that are legal in your area, and check with the local fire department for additional restrictions. In the Pocatello area, legal ďsafe and saneĒ fireworks may be discharged in the non-prohibited areas of the city only between June 28 and July 6 (some bench areas are subject to additional restrictions).
- Light only ďsafe and saneĒ fireworks on cleared, nonflammable surfaces (such as concrete or asphalt).
- Light fireworks away from buildings and vegetation.
- ALWAYS keep a bucket of water handy in case of malfunction or fire.
- NEVER take any type of fireworks on public lands. (Courtesy Consumer Products Safety Commission)
Caution! Road Construction Ahead!
When you see the orange road construction sign, do you automatically slow down, even if you donít actually see the start of the work zone? Many of us donít! In 2001, over 1,000 people were killed and 46,174 were injured as a result of work zone crashes. More than half of these crashes happened on roads with speed limits of 55 mph or greater. Clearly, work zones are a hazard, not only to drivers, but also to the workers. Local motorists present the biggest hazard for work-zone workers. Weíve been driving the same route for years, and we drive from habit. Suddenly, the situation changes, and we often donít have the patience for the delays we encounter.
Be aware of the current road construction going on. You can visit the State's road site or call 1-888-432-7623 for current construction reports. Be patient and flexible when driving in construction zones. (Courtesy Utah Safety Council)
Click it or Ticket !
While national seat belt use stands at 79 percent, we know the remaining 21 percent who donít wear their seat belts are disproportionately teens and young men ages 18-34. And at 69 percent, safety belt use for teens and young adults ages 16-24 continues to lag behind the rest of the population. Itís important to note that this is a daytime number. We know that nighttime belt use is much lower among teens and young adults.
If given a choice between notifying the family of someone killed in a crash where a seat belt could have saved their life, and writing a ticket, police officers will write the ticket every time. So, if you wonít buckle up to save your life, buckle up to avoid a ticket.
Remember, itís Click It or Ticket!
(Courtesy Enforcement Saves Lives)