firemarshallThe Office of the State Fire Marshal is proud to congratulate the Marysville Fire District for receiving the national Life Safety Achievement Award for 2013. “The Marysville Fire District should be commended for their outstanding leadership, determination, and active pledge to enhance public safety,” said State Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy.

Since 1994, the National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation along with Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company have recognized fire departments for their accomplishments in promoting fire prevention in the pursuit of saving lives by awarding the Life Safety Achievement Award to those fire departments in our nation that experienced zero fire deaths in their jurisdiction, or a 10 percent reduction in fire deaths during the previous calendar year.

State Fire Marshal Duffy encourages all local fire departments to apply for the Life Safety Achievement Award for their fire prevention efforts conducted in 2014. A list of criteria and an application for the 2014 award will be available on www.grinnellmutual.com in the spring of 2015.

firemarshallSummer break is quickly coming to an end and many students will be moving in to dormitories or other college housing. State Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy recommendsthat, “Fire safety should be reviewed as students settle into their new spaces. Understanding the safety features of a building and knowing your escape routes can significantly increase your personal safety.”

The United States Fire Administration reports an estimated 3,800 university housing fires occur each year. The leading causes include cooking, intentionally set fires, careless smoking, unattended candles, and overloaded electrical wiring. State Fire Marshal Duffy suggests the following tips to reduce the risk of fire and increase student safety:

Cooking should only be done in a location permitted by the school’s policies. Never leave your cooking unattended. If a fire starts in a microwave, leave the door closed and unplug the unit.

Alcohol, drugs and fire do not mix. The combination can make an individual sleepy which could result in them falling asleep with a lit cigarette. Smoking outside the building is recommended. Only use noncombustible, deep, wide, sturdy ashtrays to extinguish smoking materials.

Candles may be prohibited from use in college housing. Students should familiarize themselves with the applicable policies regarding open flames. If candles are permitted, never leave them unattended while they are burning. Ensure the container/holder is noncombustible and made of sturdy material. Using a flameless candle is recommended.

Fire sprinklers and smoke alarms are built in safety devices designed to respond quickly if a fire were to start. Never disable or hinder their operation. If a smoke alarm sounds, immediately evacuate the building and do not assume it is a false alarm. 

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is a Bureau of the Washington State Patrol, providing fire and life safety services to the citizens of Washington State including inspections of state licensed facilities, plan review of school construction projects, licensing of fire sprinkler contractors and pyrotechnic operators, training Washington State’s firefighters, and collecting emergency response data.

firemarshallIn these extremely challenging weather conditions, State Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy is urging residents to inspect and maintain the defensible space around their homes. Defensible space can dramatically increase your home’s chances of surviving a disastrous wildfire, and can be accomplished through careful planning and vegetation management.

“Wildfire dangers have increased statewide, making the need for fire safety a key concern. Flying embers can destroy homes up to a mile ahead of a wildfire,” cautions, Duffy. For that reason, creating and maintaining a defensible space of 100 feet around your home is essential for limiting the amount of flammable vegetation and materials that may surround your home.

Two zones make up the required 100 feet of defensible space:

Zone 1—Extends 30 feet out from buildings, decks, and other structures. Clearing this area requires the greatest reduction in flammable vegetation, and consists of removing dead plants, grasses, weeds, and any pine needles or dry leaves that may be accumulated on your home’s roof, rain gutters, or around and under decks. Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs that are located near windows. Keep trees trimmed and remove any dead tree limbs that hang over your roof, keeping branches 10 feet away from your chimney. Relocate exposed woodpiles outside of Zone 1 unless they are covered in a fire resistant material. And lastly, create a separation between trees, shrubs, and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, swing sets, etc.

Zone 2—Extends 30 to 100 feet from buildings and other structures. The fuel reduction zone in the remaining 70 feet (or to property line) will depend on the steepness of your property and the vegetation. Create horizontal and vertical spacing between plants to prevent fire from spreading. Large trees do not have to be cut down or removed as long as the plants beneath them are removed, eliminating a vertical “fire ladder.” An important reminder when clearing vegetation, use care when operating equipment such as lawnmowers, as one small spark may start a fire; a string trimmer is the safest choice.

To learn more about the Firewise principles included in this press release, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise website at www.firewise.org or the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Ready, Set, Go! website at wildlandfiresrsg.org.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is a Bureau of the Washington State Patrol, providing fire and life safety services to the citizens of Washington State including inspections of state licensed facilities, plan review of school construction projects, licensing of fire sprinkler contractors and pyrotechnic operators, training Washington State’s firefighters, and collecting emergency response data.

firemarshallState Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy reminds residents that used fireworks can leave behind a great deal of debris. Proper cleanup of firework debris can help reduce the risk of an injury or fire from happening. If you have unused consumer fireworks, it is best to discharge the remaining fireworks during the legal discharge dates for your community.

The following are suggested tips for proper disposal:

Used Fireworks:

  1. Clean up all fireworks debris.
  2. Soak the used fireworks in a bucket of water for fifteen minutes to ensure they are cooled down and there are no smoldering embers that can start a fire.
  3. Place the soaked fireworks in a metal trash can. 
  4. Do not put used fireworks that have not been soaked into a paper or plastic bag, as this could lead to a fire starting within the bag.
  5. Return to your fireworks discharge area the next morning to clean up any remaining firework debris—things can be easily overlooked in the dark.

Unused Fireworks:

  1. Outside of the legal discharge dates, contact your local law enforcement agency on a non-emergency number to see if they collect unused fireworks for disposal.
  2. Check with a Public Display Company to see if they can use the fireworks in a display show. To find a list of Public Display Companies go to http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/fireworks.htm.
  3. If you find a homemade device or illegal explosive device, call 911 for instructions. Do not handle or move the device.

For more information about fireworks safety, public fireworks displays and the fireworks laws for your area, check the Celebrate Safely website at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/fireworks.htm.

Consumer firework sales across the state will begin at noon on Saturday, June 28and continue until 9:00 p.m. on July 5. State Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy reminds residents to “know the laws before purchasing and discharging fireworks,” and “only purchase legal fireworks.” This year 937 retail fireworks stand licenses were issued.

Statewide sales and discharge period allowed by RCW 70.77.395

Date

Sales Period

Discharge Period

June 28

12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

June 29- July 3

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

July 4

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

July 5

9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

With fireworks sales just days away it is a good time to remind everyone that personal fireworks require personal responsibility. With a little care and planning you can ensure that your family has a fun and safe Fourth of July:firemarshall

  • Check with your local fire or police department
    • Be sure the fireworks you purchase are legal to possess and discharge
    • Know the dates and times fireworks are allowed in your community
    • Only purchase legal consumer fireworks
  • Children should not be able to readily access fireworks in the home
    • Store fireworks in a secure location to prohibit access 
    • Purchase the day intended to use the fireworks
  • Use care in selecting the area where you will be discharging fireworks
    • Follow the directions and warning listed on the firework
    • No fireworks without adult supervision
    • Summer weather conditions make grass and other vegetation dry and vulnerable to fire
    • Do not allow children to play with fireworks under any circumstances

Remember the three B’s of fireworks safety: 

  • Be Prepared – Have water nearby and put pets indoors
  • Be Safe – Only adults should light fireworks
  • Be Responsible – Clean up fireworks debris

Attending a public display is a safe and fun way to enjoy fireworks.  To learn about a community fireworks display near you, visit our website at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/fireworks.htm. For more information contact your local fire department, or the Office of the State Fire Marshal at (360) 596-3946.