Stay safe during Memorial Day Weekend

Summer kicks off this weekend with the Memorial Day Holiday. Here are a few tips for enjoying the heat safely while having fun.

Reduce the chance of outdoor fires around your home and yard:

  • Make sure cigarettes have cooled completely before throwing them out. Carelessly discarded cigarettes can easily start a fire in dry conditions. Discard cigarettes in a glass or metal container with sand.
  • Remove long grass, weeds or anything that can burn around your home, including on the roof and in gutters. Check for tree branches that touch your home or hang near the roof.
  • The risk of mulch fire is more common than one might expect. When possible keep beauty beds moist. Provide a minimum of 18-inches clearance between landscaping mulch beds and combustible materials.

Grill, fire pit and campfire safety:

  • Keep a three-foot child and pet safety zone around your grill and fire pit.
  • Only use your grill outside on a non-combustible surface and at least 10 feet away from siding, deck rails and open doors or windows.
  • Keep an eye on your grill, fire pit or patio torches – never leave them unattended.
  • When finished, turn off both the grill and the propane cylinder. Place coals in a metal can with a lid once they have cooled. Clean your grill after each use – this will help remove excess grease.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning – never take a smoldering or lit grill into a tent, caravan, or cabin. Even if you have finished cooking, the grill should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use.

Boating safety:

  • Ensure your boat has a working smoke alarm. Test alarms monthly and change the batteries twice a year.
  • Have a U.S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher on board and know how to use it. Mount the extinguisher near an exit to prevent being trapped.
  • Dispose of oily rags in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Fuel portable tanks on the dock, not on your vessel.
  • State law requires personal flotation devices for each person aboard a vessel.
  • Never swim in or near marinas, docks or boatyards.
  • Have your boat inspected by a certified electrician.
  • Boats with AC systems should have isolation transformers or equipment leakage circuit interrupter protection.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning while boating:
    • Gas vapors will accumulate in low spots – before fueling, close all hatches, compartments and covers. After fueling, open everything up and ventilate.
    • Swim and play away from areas where engines vent their exhaust.
    • Educate all passengers about the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning (irritated eyes, headache, nausea, dizziness).
    • Never block exhaust outlets. Blocking outlets can cause CO to build up in the cabin and cockpit areas – even when hatches, windows, portholes, and doors are closed.
    • Dock, beach, or anchor at least 20-feet away from the nearest boat that is running a generator or engine. Exhaust from a nearby vessel can send CO into the cabin and cockpit of a boat.

Drowning prevention:

  • The safest decision may be to not enter the water. Think about the risks when swimming, boating, inner tubing, or rafting in rivers due to dangers from currents, logs, jams, and cold temperatures.
  • Wear a lifejacket. Infants and children should always wear lifejackets when in or near open water. Air filled or foam toys, are not a substitute for wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket.
  • Learn to swim, including water safety and survival skills. Learn to float and tread water for at least 10 minutes. It’s good to improve skills in a pool before hitting open water.
  • Drowning often happens when inexperienced or weaker swimmers try to keep up with more experienced ones. Have conversations with your children and teens about swimming risks.
  • Swim where there’s a lifeguard when possible.
  • Supervise children in or near water. Always stay within touching distance of young children.
  • Do not use alcohol or drugs during water activities.
  • Learn first aid and CPR.

Washington State Patrol recognizes two Seattle Firefighters

SEATTLE – On Tuesday, May 15, Washington State Patrol held its 2017 awards ceremony for District 2 (King County area).  Two awards went to two Seattle Firefighters, Firefighter Chris Quinlan and Firefighter Aaron McCandless, for their off-duty actions involving motor vehicle incidents.  Firefighter Chris Quinlan received the Award of Merit for pulling a driver out of a burning vehicle on I5.  Firefighter Aaron McCandless received a Certificate of Appreciation for rendering aid to a Washington State Trooper on I90 who was injured from the impact of a motor vehicle collision near him.  Congratulations to them and to all of the Washington State Troopers honored today.

Pictured Firefighter Chris Quinlan and Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste

Pictured Chief Batiste and Firefighter Aaron McCandless

Pictured from left to right: Battalion Chief Tom Richardson, FF McCandless, Chief Batiste, FF Quinlan, and Deputy Chief Jay Schreckengost

Trial by Fire for Seattle’s Newest Firefighters: Recruit Class #108

The Seattle Fire Department will train new firefighter recruits at a vacant home in the Bryant neighborhood. Training officers and fire recruits will practice firefighting skills at 3604 NE 68th St for four days (5/13-18). During these dates, residents will notice an increase in the number of fire apparatus parked on the street.

The live fire training is an opportunity for the recruits to face real fire scenarios in a controlled setting. This essential experience prepares the newest members of the Department for the risks and challenges of fighting a home fire. This benefits the Seattle community by further developing the recruits’ fundamental life and property protection skills.

Residents should prepare to see smoke as controlled burns are set at the vacant structure. All carpet, plastics and toxic synthetic materials have been removed along with required asbestos abatement. The training officers will set wood fires in a controlled fashion with safety officers on hand during the exercises. This training is conducted under the strict regulations and rules of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

Neighbors are welcome to come and watch the live training. Typical training days begin around 7 a.m. with the live fire training starting at 9 a.m. and lasting until approximately 5 p.m.


2-Alarm Fatal House Fire in West Seattle

SEATTLE – On May 11 at 10:56 a.m., the Fire Alarm Center received a call from the King County Sheriff’s Office reporting a house fire at the 5600 Blk. of 42nd Ave. SW in West Seattle. Dispatchers relayed information to firefighters over the radio that this was an active King County SWAT incident. Due to reports of ballistic material inside the house, and an active SWAT investigation, firefighters initially stood by two blocks away, outside of the hot zone.

Seattle Fire and the King County Sheriff’s Office formed a unified command to operate jointly during the incident. Once the area was deemed safe to enter by incident commanders, firefighters began fighting the fire defensively from outside the structure. There was significant amount of fire on the first floor of a 1 1/2 story house .  Ladder trucks used ladder pipes to apply water from above the structure, and engine companies operated hose lines from the ground, a safe distance away. Seattle City Light shut down power to the entire block, due to downed power lines and as a precautionary measure. Puget Sound Energy also responded to the scene to shut off gas to the structure. Crews worked to control the fire, and protected nearby homes from catching fire.

The fire was upgraded to a 2-alarm fire. At the height of the fire, there were a total of 30 units on scene, including 10 engines and four ladder trucks. The Fire Department’s Resource Management Center was activated to ensure coverage across the City should another incident occur simultaneously.

Once the fire was under control, King County Sheriff’s Office personnel entered the structure to search for a possible patient and found an adult male deceased.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

Media should contact the King County Sheriff’s Office or Medical Examiner’s Office for further information.

Photos courtesy of John Odegard



Off-duty Seattle Firefighter helps motorcyclist

On April 29, 2018 Seattle Firefighter, Lt. Chris Carter, came across a motorcycle wreck on Highway 24 near Manitou Springs, Colorado.  Currently, Lt. Carter is on a military deployment and stationed in Colorado Springs.  He was the first person on scene and found a 54 year old male in serious condition from his motorcycle flipping several times.  Using his training as a firefighter/EMT, Lt. Carter rendered aid until first responders arrived and then continued to assist with patient care.