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During large emergencies our Joint Information Center will be activated, citizens with questions or concerns may call 619-590-3160.

San Diego County residents interested in an educational presentation to your community group, please email Michael.Mohler@fire.ca.gov

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Have a Happy and SafeThanksgiving from our Family to yours!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Winter Weather In The Forecast

A large upper level trough of low pressure approaching from the northwest will move over southwest California and a couple of impulses will move through this weekend. The first impulse rotating around the main trough will move through on Saturday. This will likely bring precipitation... possibly heavy at times. Showers will taper off late Saturday. A second upper level disturbance could enhance precipitation again Sunday with showers lingering into Monday. This storm system will bring much colder weather with local strong gusty westerly winds. The strongest winds will be in the mountains and deserts... but there will also be gusty winds in the coastal areas and inland valleys Saturday. Local windy conditions will continue in the mountains and deserts through Sunday. Preliminary rainfall estimates through Monday range from about an inch west of the mountains... with one to three inches on the coastal mountain slopes. There could be about a third to two thirds of an inch of rain in the high deserts and near a quarter inch in the lower deserts.

The snow level will start out high... above 7000 feet... and then lower to about 5000 feet north and 5500 feet south Sunday into Monday. Snow accumulations may reach about 3 to 6 inches between 5000 and 7000 feet with 6 to 12 inches above 7000 feet in the San Bernardino and Riverside County mountains. A few inches of snow could eventually accumulate on the highest peaks of the San Diego County mountains Sunday into Monday.

The rain will make roads slick and motorists should use extra caution. There could be flooding of poorly drained low lying areas and possible mud slides in and below steep terrain and recently burned areas. Fog... snow and blowing snow... will reduce visibility in the mountains at times.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Magnitued 3.7 Earthquake felt throughout San Diego County

We have all heard of magnitude what does it really mean?

Seismologists indicate the size of an earthquake in units of magnitude. There are many different ways that magnitude is measured from seismograms because each method only works over a limited range of magnitudes and with different types of seismometers. Some methods are based on body waves (which travel deep within the structure of the earth), some based on surface waves (which primarily travel along the uppermost layers of the earth), and some based on completely different methodologies. However, all of the methods are designed to agree well over the range of magnitudes where they are reliable.

Preliminary magnitudes based on incomplete but available data are sometimes estimated and reported. For example, the Tsunami Centers will calculate a preliminary magnitude and location for an event as soon as sufficient data is available to make an estimate. In this case, time is of the essence in order to broadcast a warning if tsunami waves are likely to be generated by the event. Such preliminary magnitudes, which may be off by one-half magnitude unit or more, are sufficient for the purpose at hand, and are superseded by more exact estimates of magnitude as more data become available.

Earthquake magnitude is a logarithmic measure of earthquake size. In simple terms, this means that at the same distance from the earthquake, the shaking will be 10 times as large during a magnitude 5 earthquake as during a magnitude 4 earthquake. The total amount of energy released by the earthquake, however, goes up by a factor of 32.

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Step 1: Secure it now!

Reducing and/or eliminating hazards throughout your home, neighborhood, workplace and school can greatly reduce your risk of injury or death following the next earthquake or other disaster. Conduct a "hazard hunt" to help identify and fix things such as unsecured televisions, computers, bookcases, furniture, unstrapped water heaters, etc. Securing these items now will help to protect you tomorrow.

Step 2: Make a plan

Planning for an earthquake, terrorist attack, or other emergency is not much different from planning for a party or vacation. Make sure that your emergency plan includes evacuation and reunion plans; your out-of-state contact person's name and number; the location of your emergency supplies and other pertinent information. By planning now, you will be ready for the next emergency.

Step 3: Make disaster kits

Everyone should have disaster supplies kits stored in accessible locations at home, at work and in your vehicle. Having emergency supplies readily available can reduce the impact of an earthquake, a terrorist incident or other emergency on you and your family. Your disaster supplies kits should include food, water, flashlights, portable radios, batteries, a first aid kit, cash, extra medications, a whistle, fire extinguisher, etc.

Step 4: Is your place safe?

Most houses are not as safe as they could be. Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, there are things that you can do to improve the structural integrity of your home. Some of the things that you might consider checking include inadequate foundations, unbraced cripple walls, soft first stories, unreinforced masonry and vulnerable pipes. Consult a contractor or engineer to help you identify your building's weaknesses and begin to fix them now.

Step 5: DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON!

Learn what to do during an earthquake, whether you're at home, at work, at school or just out and about. Taking the proper actions, such as "Drop, Cover, and Hold On", can save lives and reduce your risk of death or injury. During earthquakes, drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it firmly. Be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.

Step 6: Check it out!

One of the first things you should do following a major disaster is to check for injuries and damages that need immediate attention. Make sure you are trained in first aid and in damage assessment techniques. You should be able to administer first aid and to identify hazards such as damaged gas, water, sewage and electrical lines. Be prepared to report damage to city or county government.

Step 7: Communicate and recover!

Following a major disaster, communication will be an important step in your recovery efforts. Turn on your portable radio for information and safety advisories. If your home is damaged, contact your insurance agent right away to begin your claims process. For most Presidentially declared disasters, resources will also be available from federal, state, and local government agencies.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fire Chief Urges Caution While Cooking Thanksgiving Turkey

 "We're worried by the increasing reports of fires related with turkey fryer use," says John Drengenberg, consumer affairs manager of UL. "Based on our test findings, the fryers used to produce those great-tasting birds are not worth the risks. And, as a result of these tests, UL has decided not to certify any turkey fryers with our trusted UL Mark."

Turkey fryer hazards

• Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil from the cooking pot.

• If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner or flames, causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.

• Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too may result in an extensive fire.

• With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.

• The lid and handles on the sides of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

Important safety information

• If you absolutely must use a turkey fryer, please use the following tips.

• Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.

• Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.

• Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

• Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

• Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.

• To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.

• Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.

• Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.

• The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.

• Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.

I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Safe Holiday

          Howard Windsor
          Fire Chief

Friday, November 12, 2010

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Proper placement of a carbon monoxide (CO) detector is important. If you are installing only one carbon monoxide detector, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends it be located near the sleeping area, where it can wake you if you are asleep. Additional detectors on every level and in every bedroom of a home provides extra protection against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Homeowners should remember not to install carbon monoxide detectors directly above or beside fuel-burning appliances, as appliances may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide upon start-up. A detector should not be placed within fifteen feet of heating or cooking appliances or in or near very humid areas such as bathrooms.

When considering where to place a carbon monoxide detector, keep in mind that although carbon monoxide is roughly the same weight as air (carbon monoxide's specific gravity is 0.9657, as stated by the EPA; the National Resource Council lists the specific gravity of air as one), it may be contained in warm air coming from combustion appliances such as home heating equipment. If this is the case, carbon monoxide will rise with the warmer air.

Installation locations vary by manufacturer. Manufacturers' recommendations differ to a certain degree based on research conducted with each one's specific detector. Therefore, make sure to read the provided installation manual for each detector before installing.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommend a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. A detector should be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door and there should be one near or over any attached garage. Each detector should be replaced every five to six years.CO detectors do not serve as smoke detectors and vice versa. However, dual smoke/CO detectors are also sold. Smoke detectors detect the smoke generated by flaming or smoldering fires, whereas CO detectors can alarm people about faulty fuel burning devices to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is produced from incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. In the home CO can be formed, for example, by open flames, space heaters, water heaters, blocked chimneys or running a car inside a garage.

Since CO is colorless, tasteless and odorless (unlike smoke from a fire), detection and prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning in a home environment is impossible without such a warning device. In North America, some state, provincial and municipal governments require installation of CO detectors in new units - among them, the U.S. states of Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Vermont, the Canadian province of Ontario, and New York City.

According to the 2005 edition of the carbon monoxide guidelines, NFPA 720, published by the National Fire Protection Association, sections and, all CO detectors 'shall be centrally located outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms,' and each detector 'shall be located on the wall, ceiling or other location as specified in the installation instructions that accompany the unit.'

When carbon monoxide detectors were introduced into the market, they had a limited lifespan of 2 years. However technology developments have increased this and many now advertise 5 or even 6 years. Newer models are designed to signal a need to be replaced after that timespan although there are many instances of detectors operating far beyond this point.

Although all home detectors use an audible alarm signal as the primary indicator, some versions also offer a digital readout of the CO concentration [see side-bar], in parts per million. Typically, they can display both the current reading and a peak reading from memory of the highest level measured over a period of time.

The digital models offer the advantage of being able to observe levels that are below the alarm threshold, learn about levels that may have occurred during an absence, and assess the degree of hazard if the alarm sounds. They may also aid emergency responders in evaluating the level of past or ongoing exposure or danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Battery-only carbon monoxide detectors tend to go thru batteries more frequently than expected. Plug-in detectors with a battery backup (for use if the power is interrupted) provide less battery-changing maintenance.

Some CO detectors are available as system-connected, monitored devices. System-connected detectors, which can be wired to either a security or fire panel, are monitored by a central station. In case the residence is empty, the residents are sleeping or occupants are already suffering from the effects of CO, the central station can be alerted to the high concentrations of CO gas and can send the proper authorities to investigate possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Controlled Burn being Conducted in East County

CAL FIRE Firefighters will be conducting a controlled burn today and tomorrow November 9th and 10th  2010 South of the community of Pine Valley. The Corte Madera Ranch has been the site for several previous burns and part of on ongoing Vegetation Management Plan (VMP).  Smoke will be visible from throughout the Eastern portion of San Diego County.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Training Ensures Readiness

Standardized training ensures continuity throughout CAL FIRE. Crews from several stations in Battalion 3 meet weekly  to train on firefighting and EMS skills. This allows firefighters working different shift schedules to receive standardized training. These multi-company drills continue to promote operational compatibility between crews on emergency scenes.

Monday, November 1, 2010

CAL FIRE is warning the public of a recent donation scam.

Residents who receive calls from a person requesting monetary donations for training California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighters should keep their wallets closed, according to fire officials.
This week a resident of Santa Clara County received a call from a person requesting a monetary donation to pay for the training of CAL FIRE firefighters. CAL FIRE does not solicit donations and that the training of CAL FIRE's firefighters is funded through the department's budget.

Residents need to know that CAL FIRE never solicits funds in order to provide services to community.
We hope that by getting the word out early no one will give their money to these criminals and that if residents do get a call from a scammer, they will be prepared to gather pertinent information so we can put a stop to this.

If you receive a phone call soliciting funds for CAL FIRE, please call 408-778-0930.