21September2014

Safety and Public Awareness

Safety and Public Awareness

News reporting arrests, weather warnings, product recalls, and other important information relating to safety and public awareness, are found in this category.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Two heater caused fires over the weekend

Written by
According to a press release from the Eureka Fire department, dated Nov. 5, 2011:
This last weekend the Eureka Fire Department and Humboldt Fire District #1 responded to two fires caused by combustible materials placed on top of or too close to heaters. The Eureka Fire Department and Humboldt Fire District #1 historically responds to several heater related fires at this time of year.  
 
Often occupants think a furnace has been turned off because they have adjusted the thermostat to the lowest setting.  This does not turn the furnace off; rather the furnace is set to the lowest temperature setting. When the temperature falls below the lowest setting on the thermostat the heater will still turn on.  Combustibles placed on or near the heater can ignite and start a fire. While combustible materials stored too close to all types of heaters are a fire hazard, historically in Eureka this has been a recurring problem with floor heaters.  During the warmer weather rugs or other combustible materials may be placed on top of or next to a floor heater.  When the temperature falls and the heaters turn on these materials ignite and cause a fire in the building.  
 
 
It was fortunate that both of these fires started early in the evening and were noticed.  No one was injured and early notification and arrival of the Fire Department limited the damage.  Other floor fire caused heater fires have resulted in major damage to the homes.
 
Here are some safety tips for all types of heaters:
  • Do not place floor coverings, clothing, or furniture over floor furnaces or in front of wall heaters.
  • Move combustibles away from all types of heaters including floor, wall heaters and in forced air heater closets.
  • Have your furnace cleaned and serviced to insure safe and efficient operation.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace or heater; if the wall is hot to the touch or discolored, stop using it and have the appliance checked by a qualified technician. 
  • If you heat with wood, move combustibles at least 36” away from the stove or fireplace. This applies to furniture as well.
  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home or on a wooden deck. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house or other buildings.
  • Have your stove pipe, chimney, or flue cleaned and inspected prior to use.
 
Photos showing the fire damage resulting from heater caused fires:
 
    
 

According to a press release from the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), dated Dec. 5, 2011:

The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) today urged residents throughout the State of California to accelerate their winter weather preparedness efforts in response to a forecast by the National Weather Service for temperatures in the 20s to low 30s and possibly lower later this week. Freeze Warnings have been issued for areas in and around Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. "According to the National Weather Service, residents in much of Northern California can expect extremely cold temperatures during the next several days," said Cal EMA Acting Secretary Mike Dayton. "As this weather tends to be the norm throughout the winter months, it is critical that Californians recognize the risks associated with freezing temperatures and take necessary steps to prepare if they have yet to do so."
 
Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia and other serious health problems, particularly for seniors, infants and people with chronic conditions such as asthma and other respiratory conditions.  Cold temperatures also threaten pets that are left unprotected. Cal EMA continues to closely monitor the weather and are prepared to implement Phase II of California's Contingency Plan for Extreme Cold and Freeze Emergencies if conditions warrant.
 
Protect your home, water pipes and other property- click here for tips 
 
Residents of areas with expectations for freezing temperatures should be aware of the following:
 
    * Learn the signs of hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration and carbon monoxide poisoning
    * Review and update emergency plans, including out-of-town contact information
    * Store plenty of drinking water, food and medications
    * Obtain and maintain a sufficient supply of heating oil
    * Make sure portable radios and flashlights are operable and there's an adequate supply of extra batteries
    * Listen to the radio or watch television for the latest information on the weather as well as instructions from local officials
    * Eat regularly
    * Drink plenty of fluids
    * Avoid caffeine and alcohol
    * Regularly charge devices and have back up options available if someone is dependent on equipment needing power
    * Teach relatives, co-workers, classmates or neighbors to operate life-safety equipment
    * Disabled or elderly may need assistance establishing support teams of people who can assist them
    * Pre-identify options (e.g., paratransit, dial-a-ride, taxi, friend, neighbor) for transport to Warming Centers
    * Protect pets from the weather. Move pets indoors or into an enclosed structure
    * Do not use barbecues and other cooking equipment designed for outdoor use for cooking indoors.
    * Wear several layers of clothing that is loose, lightweight, warm and water repellent
    * Weather mittens, rather than gloves
    * Wear a hat if outdoors
    * Stretch before going outside.
    * Move plants indoors or cover with plastic to protect them
    * Avoid overexerting if shoveling snow or doing other outdoor activity. Overexertion is a major cause of winter deaths.
    * Protect your lungs from cold air by covering your mouth while outdoors/avoid speaking unless it's absolutely necessary.
    * Prevent your body from losing heat by changing from wet clothing to dry clothing as frequently as possible.
    * Symptoms of frostbite: loss of feeling, white or pale appearance in the fingers, toes, ear lobes and other extremities.  
    *Get medical attention immediately if symptoms are noted.
    * Signs of hypothermia: shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, apparent exhaustion.
    * Travel by car during the day only and ensure the car is fueled with sufficient gas.
    * Don't travel alone
    * Let others know your schedule
    * Stay on main roads
 
Additional safety tips and information about state response activities are available at: http://www.calema.ca.gov.  
Monday, December 05, 2011

Student robbed in HSU Residence Hall

Written by
According to a press release from California State University, Humboldt, dated Fri., Dec 2, 2011:
Police at Humboldt State University are investigating a strong arm robbery in a campus residence hall that took place Friday afternoon. The incident occurred in Sunset Hall just after 5 p.m. The victim reported that three men broke into his room, bound his arms and legs, and stole a number of items. The victim reported being physically assaulted by the suspects, but no weapons were observed by the victim. The victim declined any medical attention.University police responded and conducted a thorough search of the area. Police determined that the suspects had likely fled and posed no immediate additional threat, though they are urging students living in residence halls to be vigilant. The suspects were last seen on foot near the area of Lake Wood Blvd. and Plaza Ave. Fliers describing the robbery were posted throughout the area. .University police will also be conducting additional patrols around campus residence halls over the next week.
 
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact University Police at 826-5555.
 
Shown below are police sketches and descriptions of the three suspects in this case:
According to a press release from PG&E, dated Nov. 29, 2011:
A strong wind storm is forecast to hit Northern and Central California, kicking up on Wednesday, Nov. 30, and lasting into Friday, Dec. 2. The winds, expected to be 35 to 45 miles per hour (mph) with gusts up to 60 mph, could result in falling trees taking down power lines and poles and interrupting electric service throughout the region.

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