Oskaloosa Fire Open House Brings Awareness For Fire Prevention

Oskaloosa firefighters demonstrate their new aerial apparatus to visitors to their open house this past week.

Oskaloosa firefighters demonstrate their new aerial apparatus to visitors at their open house this past week.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The new addition to Oskaloosa historic fire station has been finished for nearly a year, and Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff said it was a good time to reinvite the public back into the facility.

With this past week being Fire Prevention Week, it seemed a good time to open the doors, share with the public the new station, and the aerial apparatus. Neff said there have been a lot of things happening with the fire department.

All of the improvements have lead to an improvement for the city of Oskaloosa’s ISO insurance rating, which is a score from 1 to 10 that indicates how well-protected your community is by the fire department.

The addition of the aerial apparatus helped the city improve its score, “along with the other stuff we continue to work on,” added Neff.

A better rating can help property owners, both home and businesses with their insurance costs.

After a year in the new station, Neff said that the staff is loving the facility. “We’ve got room to hold functions like this. We’ve got places now that we can hold training exercises and not have to pull equipment out into inclement weather and leave it sitting outside. Just the whole facility has brought moral up.”

Over time, the expectations of firefighters have increased. Hazmat, water rescue, and other pieces of equipment used to fill the old building that was torn down. Today, it’s not just about fighting structure fires, “it’s so much more encompassing as far as what we do for rescues. Water rescue, ice rescue, grain bin, high angle, confined space,” are just a few pointed out by Neff. “The list just goes on and on and on as to what we do, compared to 30 or 40 years ago where basically we just ran fire and ambulance.”

During October, the fire department visits the Oskaloosa Elementary School and the Oskaloosa Christian School, helping to teach kids about fire prevention.

Operation EDITH [Exit Drills In The Home] is something that has been developed so that families can prepare and practice an escape plan in the event there is a fire.

“We’re trying to instill with those young kids and adults, “that if you’re lucky enough to make it out of a house fire, you can’t go back in. You’re not equipped to do that. The smoke and toxic gases will overtake you the minute you get inside that structure. I know it’s a difficult choice to make, but if you make it out, you have to have a meeting point and go there,” explained Neff.

As the cold settles in, space heaters are being used to provide warmth, but they come with dangers that cause unintended fires.

“The biggest thing that we see is for accidental fires in the winter is space heaters run with too lite of an extension cord,” said Neff. “Or they will put them [extension cords] underneath rugs” to avoid tripping hazards. “That doesn’t let the heat dissipate properly.”

Another hazard that generates heat in cords is when they are coiled and tied up. “Any time you restrict electricity, it’s going to build heat,” added Neff.

“If anybody has any questions on stuff, give us a call. We’ll come out, and we’ll do an in-home inspection for you. It doesn’t cost you a thing,” said Neff. “You’re not going to get in trouble if we find something wrong. We’ll walk through your home and point out any fire safety issues that we might see. Try to answer any questions they may have.”

“Keep the space heaters away from combustibles,” Neff said. “We’ve seen pipes froze underneath sinks, and they’ll have a space heater underneath that cabinet.”

The built-up heat can cause a fire hazard which has lead to scorching, but aerosol cans can explode and cause injury from the flying projectiles.

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Posted by on Oct 15 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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