As the time change approaches on Sunday, November 2, the Loudoun County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management wants to remind residents to make another change that could save their lives — changing the batteries in their smoke alarms.
Communities nationwide witness tragic home fire deaths each year. An average of three children per day die in home fires and 80 percent of those occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Non-working smoke alarms rob residents of the protective benefits home fire safety devices were designed to provide. The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms: dead or missing batteries.
Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. The simple yet powerful act of changing the batteries in smoke alarms when you change your clocks on November 2 can cut a family’s risk of dying in a home fire significantly. In addition, if your smoke alarm is 10 years old or older, it should be replaced.
“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM when most families are sleeping,” says Chief Fire Marshal Keith Brower. “Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can given them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.”
In addition, Brower recommends residents use the “extra” hour they save from the time change to test smoke alarms by pushing the test button, planning “two ways out” of each room in the home and practicing those escape routes with the entire family. “This is an excellent opportunity to get everyone in the household involved,” commented Brower. “In an emergency, seconds count. Knowing what to do can help save your life, or the life of someone you love.”
For additional information about fire safety, contact the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office or Joy Dotson, Public Education Manager, at 703-777-0333.
More information about the “Get Alarmed Loudoun: Put Your Finger on It” smoke alarm program, including a message from Chief Joe Pozzo, is available on the Loudoun County website at www.loudoun.gov/smokealarms.
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Now that the pumpkins are carved and costume-clad bodies are ready to roam; Halloween is officially set to begin. As more and more children go out to trick-or-treat each year, their safety is important.
With this in mind, Loudoun County Sheriff Steve Simpson has announced several safety tips that children and parents should keep in mind to ensure that this will be a safe, happy holiday for everyone:
- Wear light-colored clothing that’s short enough to prevent tripping and add reflective tape to the sides, front and back of costume
- Make sure children can see well through face masks, or use cosmetics to create fun and scary faces
- Adults should accompany young children
- Carry a Flashlight
- Stay within the neighborhood and only visit homes you know
- Watch for traffic
- Only give and accept wrapped or packaged candy
- Examine all candy before allowing children to eat it
- Keep costumed children away from pets. The pet may not recognize the children and become frightened
- Avoid hard plastic or wood props such as daggers or swords. Substitute with foam rubber which is soft and flexible
As the weekend approaches the Sheriff’s Office is also reminding residents that if you are going to an adult Halloween party you need to plan ahead. Loudouners are advised to call a cab or use a designated driver if you will be drinking.
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October 16: All was quiet in Sterling on Crew 1′s Thursday night shift until just after midnight when crews were dispatched to an accident with entrapment near the intersection of Sterling Boulevard and Davis Drive. Engine 11 was first unit to arrive at the scene and found a sedan that had left the road and tumbled across a parking lot coming to rest on its roof and against a vacant office building. As the crew from Engine 11 further assessed the scene, they discovered that the driver of the vehicle was stuck underneath the car, having come partially through the sunroof and pinned his arm between the curb and the car.
This rescue posed significant challenges due to the unstable nature of how the car came to rest on its roof and that the car was lying directly on the driver’s arm. Though injured, the patient remained alert as crew members spoke with him throughout the extrication process to keep him engaged and advised of what was happening. Additional resources were called in from Fairfax Fire and Rescue to provide extra lifting and shoring materials.
After the car was successfully lifted enough to free the patient’s arm, both passenger side doors were removed and the patient was slid out onto a backboard. The patient was transferred to an awaiting EMS crew who stabilized the patient and then transferred him to AirCare’s air ambulance.
The building that the car struck was damaged from the impact. This damage was limited to broken widows and window frames and the building was inspected and determined to be stable.
The units that responded to this incident included Engine 11, Truck 11, Deputy Chief 18, Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad’s Medic 15, Rescue Squad 15, Tech 25 and Captain 15, Ashburn Volunteer Fire and Rescue’s Engine 23, Fairfax Fire and Rescue’s Rescue Squad 439, Loudoun County Fire Marshall’s Office and various units from the Loudoun County Sheriffs Office and Virginia State Police.
Photo Credit: Mike Sanders – Ashburn Volunteer Fire and Rescue
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Ending a busy day for the career staff, including a structure fire calls in Ashburn and Fairfax County, Crew 5 started their tour with an EMS call for Engine 618 at 18:00:01 (one second after shift change). After clearing that call the engine responded directly to a second EMS call. After returning to quarters Engine 618 was on the road again at 19:30 for a cat rescue. Upon clearing that call they went to The Big Apple Circus for an injury before returning to quarters. Engine 611 went out for an auto accident at 20:42, and then for a moving van fire at 02:41. At 04:18 Engine 611 was out again for an investigation. A caller had reported an “odor of something burning” in the area of E Holly and N Fillmore. Engine 611 discovered a fire in the Getty Mart and requested a structure fire assignment. This brought Quint 618 (as Truck 611), Engine 618, Chief 611, Engines 623 and 606, TowerLadder 606, and AC 606 from Ashburn, and Engine 404, Rescue 439, and Battalion Chief 401 from Fairfax County, and Battalion Chief 602 from Loudoun County. An EMS unit and the chief from the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad also responded. Chief 611 requested an additional engine and truck for a Level II RIT team, bringing units from Engine 439 and TowerLadder 436 from Fairfax. Units brought the fire under control quickly and did extensive overhaul to make sure all fire was out. Canteen 611 arrived to provide water and snacks for the firefighters. Meanwhile TowerLadder 619 covered Sterling station 11 and units from Arcola and Leesburg covered the Ashburn stations. Mutual aid units were soon released while Sterling units continued to clean up. Sterling units returned to quarters just before 06:30 and completed the delayed shift change with Loudoun County career staff (so the volunteers could go to work). Within minutes Engine 611 was already on the road for an “unknown situation” call, and about 30 minutes later Engine 618 was on the way to a house fire in Ashburn.
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At approximately 7:30pm the Sterling Volunteer Fire Company received a call for help from a citizen. Her cat was stuck on a 2nd story window ledge and she was unable to rescue him. Engine 618 drove to the scene and was able to reach the cat with a 24 foot extension ladder. Although the cat wasn’t in a tree the crew of Engine 618 is now at least able to answer the inevitable “Have you ever rescued a cat from a tree?” with a partial yes.
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Firefighter Brian King and Lucas descend
For the first time in 4 years the weather promised to help make Sterlingfest a great day. The Sterling Volunteer Fire Company participated in the Sterlingfest parade and then, with the help of the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad, hosted an open house at Station 11. We opened our doors to the public and they came in large numbers. We were happy to meet the public we serve when they weren’t in need of our services. We were able to talk with them about what we do and how we do it, using both static displays and demonstrations. The public is always welcome to stop by our stations, but this day designed to help them see what we do for them and how their donations are used in the community.
Sterling Volunteer Fire Company marching in the parade.
The Chiefs and officers led the way.
Engine 611 looking nice.
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Chief Starling and Assistant Chief Bischoff meeting with the public.
Every year the National Fire Prevention Association sponsors Fire Prevention Week. The theme this year is Prevent Home Fires, and fire personnel around the nation will be making an extra effort to better educate the public about fire safety and how they can help prevent fires in the home. In Sterling the LCFR career staff will visit local schools to do demonstrations and hand out materials to the kids. The volunteers will do the same and will host our annual Open House on October 11th at Fire Station 11, at 104 Commerce Street in Sterling. Visit firepreventionweek.org for more information, links, and materials to download.
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