October is Fire Prevention month, and the week of October 6-13 is a week to focus on fire prevention. The Asheville Fire Department has kicked it off with these tips for preventing kitchen fires:
It’s time for Fire Prevention Week, and from October 6-12 the Asheville Fire Department is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind local residents to ‘Prevent Kitchen Fires.’ During this year’s fire safety campaign, fire departments will be spreading the word about the dangers of kitchen fires–most of which result from unattended cooking—and teaching local residents how to prevent kitchen fires from starting in the first place.
According to the latest NFPA research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Two of every five home fires begin in the kitchen—more than any other place in the home. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries.
“Often when we’re called to a fire that started in the kitchen, the residents tell us that they only left the kitchen for a few minutes,” said Kelley Klope, PIO. “Sadly, that’s all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. We hope that Fire Prevention Week will help us reach folks in the community before they’ve suffered a damaging lesson.”
Among the safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates will be emphasizing:
· Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.
· If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
· When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
· If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three away from the stove.
· When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.
· Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop.
· Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.
Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country. Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.
As part of Fire Safety Month, AFD will be presenting the Fire Safety Trailer to the following schools, dates and times:
Fire engines and police cruisers alike lit up on September 17 at the Murphy-Oakley Community Center and Fire Station Building, but they were not responding to an emergency. The blue and red lights were flashing in celebration of a high-speed communication connection that means better and faster service responses by Asheville’s emergency responders.
The City of Asheville Information Technology Services Department has been working on restoring the fiber-optic reconnection since 2009, and the accomplishment was the result of a great community collaboration. Asheville-based Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas (ERC), which received a grant in 2012 in partnership with North Carolina-based MCNC to enhance its fiber-optic network in Western North Carolina, has partnered with the City of Asheville to connect 12 Fire Stations and 4 Police Stations to dispatchers using its new fiber optic network. The move provides the fastest emergency alert notification available and saves the City of Asheville the approximately $5 million it would have cost to install its own fiber network.
“In a project of this magnitude, there are a lot of moving parts,” said Jonathan Feldmen, the city’s Chief Information Officer. Feldman presented plaques to the ERC’s Executive Director Hunter Goosmann as well as representatives from the Reed Memorial Baptist Church, which allowed the city to use its steeple for a wireless connection while the communication system was in transition.
Joined by firefighters and police officers who rely on the ability to respond quickly in emergency situations, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy spotlighted the increased public safety and even its impacts on the city’s accreditation. “Today we are talking about how to make sure people are even safer,” she said. “To the IT Department, this shows your commitment to making sure the City of Asheville is wired and at a low cost.”
In 2012, Asheville City Council approved a franchise agreement with the ERC in support of the partnership that provides the high-speed fiber-optic access.
In December, 2012, the Asheville Fire Department responded to an auto accident on Lyman Street in which a vehicle wound up upside down in the French Broad River with the driver trapped inside.
The team of firefighters that worked the scene would grow to 16 strong, and involved water rescue and dive team personnel, but they managed to save the life of the woman in the vehicle. Those are the kinds of stories the department reflects on each year at its promotion and recognition ceremony. Some stories, such as the French Broad rescue, make headlines. Other times, they are not as widely noted. But in each case highlighted by Chief Scott Burnette at the September 11 ceremony, a life was saved.
“These are all people who are alive today because of the actions of our firefighters,” Burnette said.
The incident recognition has become a tradition at the annual ceremony, held in conjunction with the remembrance of first responders and citizens who perished in the 2001 attacks in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In remembering the sacrifice of those fallen, Burnette said, we also honor those who put themselves in harms way in the interest of saving lives.
Mayor Terry Bellamy thanked the firefighters of Asheville for their “unwavering dedication.”
“I know the people of Asheville, Buncombe County and Western North Carolina appreciate the service you provide each and every day,” Bellamy said. “You all answer a call that most of us only think about answering. You run in when others run out.”
Below are those recognized at the ceremony, including promotions, notable achievements and firefighters who have retired since last year’s ceremony.
Retirees in the last year:
Andrew Henderson, Captain
Herbert Roberson, Engineer
James Fox, Captain
Joseph Heafner, Engineer
Johnny McCulloch, Engineer
Mike Bellows, Captain
Keith Gillespie, Captain
Michael Roland, Captain
Ronald Morrow, Captain
Thomas Brown, Engineer
John Gaines, Senior Firefighter
James Cowan, Battalion Chief
Gordon Silvers, Senior Firefighter
David McFee, Assistant Chief
Harley Haug, Senior Firefighter
To Safety Training Officer:
Michael P. Riley
To Senior Firefighter:
Deputy Fire Marshal Tracy Coggins, Advanced Firefighter
Deputy Fire Marshal Rodger Martin, Advance Firefighter
Assistant Fire Marshal Jeff Payne, Advanced Firefighter
Assistant Fire Marshal Tre Allen, Advanced Firefighter
Recognition of professional achievements:
Fire Marshal Wayne Hamilton received Fire Marshal Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence on Professional Credentialing and Fire Plans Examiner from the International Code Council.
Arson Investigator David Cutshall received Basic Law Enforcement Training Certification at A-B Tech, Evidence Collection Technician from the International Association of Arson Investigators and Practical Dynamics and Modeling from the National Fire Academy.
DFM Dewayne Fender received Origin and Cause-National Fire Academy
DFM Casey Silvers received Origin and Cause-National Fire Academy, Level II Fire Inspector.
Acting Deputy Fire Marshal Amy Pollard received Fire Inspector Level II.
Deputy Fire Marshal Rusty Freck received Certified Fire Investigator Technician.
John “Sam” Roberson received Certificate of Merit (RIT Team and Training).
Barry Hendren received the GiGa Innovative Solutions Award.
Zach Wetmore and Philip Padilla recognized for outstanding work with the Asheville City Schools Foundation Celebration Community Choice Award-IRL Program.
Asheville Way Award recipients:
Recognition of significant events:
Childbirth complications – Apr. 14, 2013
Michael G. Riley
Cardiac arrest – Dec. 23, 1012
Cardiac arrest – Apr. 9, 2013
Life Saved, accidental stabbing – July 10, 2012
Life Saved, MVA at French Broad River – December 2, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – Dec. 28, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – July 16, 2013
Infant Choking – July 30, 2013
Cardiac Arrest – Aug. 15, 2013
Jimmie Causey II
Trench Rescue – Oct. 4, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – Nov. 8, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – Nov. 1, 2012
Certificate of Merit – Boone RRT Response – June 8-9, 2013
AFD retirees who passed in the last year:
James “Moon” Waldrop, Engineer
Bobby Ingle, Engineer
Eddie Teague, Sr. Engineer
Rayburn Whitt, District Chief
Jack Waites, Captain
James Whitworth, Captain
David Bryson, District Chief
On Friday, August 16, the Carolina Brotherhood, a group of firefighters, police officers and emergency personnel riding 700 miles across North and South Carolina in honor of their fallen comrades, rode into downtown Asheville on their way to their final stop in Boone.
The group of bicyclists included Asheville’s own Landon Davis, Dan Flinn, Joe Hallam, Eric Stalte, Mark Jameson and Rich Rauschenbach. The AFD’s Mike Webb and Stacy Bowen, widow of Capt. Jeff Bowen, worked on the Carolina Brotherhood’s support team. Capt. Bowen was one of those honored in last year’s inaugural ride.
Six city employees were recognized by Asheville City Council at its August 13 meeting. Council thanked for their hard work, drive for improvement, and, in one case, heroism.
Darlene Barnwell, who works in the city’s Customer Service Division, received a standing ovation for her heroic rescue of an 8-year-old boy who was being attacked by dogs in a neighbor’s yard. In May, Barnwell was drawn away from a cookout she was hosting to assist in a search for the boy. When she found him in a neighbor’s yard being attacked by the dogs, she climbed a barbed wire fence, managed to distract the dogs, then pick up the boy and carry him out of the yard.
“We’re so proud of you Darlene,” said City Manager Gary Jackson. “And it touches our hearts that you would do that.”
Council also recognized Asheville Fire Department Battalion Chief Joy Ponder for completing the four-year National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. Last year, while going through the program, Ponder became the AFD’s first female Battalion Chief.
The City’s Purchasing Manager Amy Patterson was congratulated for earning the title of Certified Local Government Purchasing Officer through the North Carolina School of Government. The certification means that Patterson and the City’s Purchasing Division are recognized as providers of efficient, fair and transparent business practices.
Darryl Rice, Rob Martin and Kevin Haughinberry of the City’s Fleet Division were recognized for completing specialized training and certification to inspect low-emission CNG vehicles in the city’s fleet. Their training saves the city time and money when using the low-emission vehicles.
Click the screen above to see a video of Council’s City of Asheville Employee Recognition from August 13.
The City of Asheville is pleased to announce that Deputy Finance Director Eric Hardy and Asheville Fire Department Public Information Officer Kelley Klope have both been selected to attend the 32nd Leadership Asheville Class beginning in September.
Leadership Asheville, operated through UNC Asheville is an important resource to the community, with participants honing leadership and collaborative skills and making valuable community connections. That, says Deputy City Manager Jeff Richardson, allows CoA employees to bring quality leadership skills back into the organization and continue its commitment to the community.
“This program not only exposes key city staff to some of the most pressing issues and opportunities our community is facing, but also provides networking opportunities for program participants to make meaningful friendships with fellow participants from different organizations throughout the community,” Richardson said.
“Leadership Asheville is excited to once again have members of our city government enrolled in our core program,” said Brian Turner, Assistant Vice Chancellor at UNC Asheville. “Over the years the City of Asheville has sent over 30 people through the program, firmly establishing their commitment not only to our community’s success but also that of their employees.”
Hardy was hired to the City’s Finance Department as Controller in 2011 and currently serves as the City’s Deputy Finance Director. Klope joined the Asheville Fire Department in 1996 and achieved the rank of Fire Specialist Sr. in 2007. She serves as the department’s Public Information Officer.
The Asheville Fire Department is recruiting middle-school age kids for its summer camp to be held June 24 – 26. This a great way for kids to have fun and learn what it is like to be a City of Asheville firefighter. Click here for the 2013 Fire Escape Application. Apply by June 7.
Below is a 2012 post highlighting the summer camp:
Fire Camp a great escape for kids June 14, 2012
For 28 youths, this week was a chance to fill the boots of firefighters at the City of Asheville Fire Department’s Fire Escape camp.
For the third year in a row, AFD hosted the three-day camp for boys and girls in grades six through eight. Attendance at the camp, held at the Asheville Firefighters Association Camp off Clayton Road, has grown since it began in 2010.
“We got some repeat campers, and a few told their friends. Word is getting out and we filled up pretty quick this year,” said AFD Public Information Officer Kelley Klope.
The department’s interaction with students at Asheville Middle School through the In Real Life partnership also contributed to the turnout, Klope said.
Kids got to learn how to use turnout gear, the suit and equipment firefighters use when entering burning buildings, unroll and connect hoses and take a turn in the 100-foot-tall aerial bucket. They even got a taste of the obstacle course training that Asheville’s firefighters use to stay in top form.
“They get to learn the skills we use,” Klope said. “The kids just love it.”
The camp also serves as an introduction to other opportunities the AFD offers, including Asheville Fire Explorer Post 77, which trains young adults ages 14-21 firefighting skills. Several current firefighters with the department got their start in Post 77.
Fire Escape camp was provided free of charge, thanks to the participation of the Asheville Firefighters Association and Asheville firefighters who volunteered their time over the three days. The AFD also wants to thank Firehouse Subs and Asheville Pizza and Brewing for donating lunches.
There are nearly 4,000 fire hydrants in the City of Asheville and every couple of years they need a new coat of paint. Each year, the Asheville Fire Department repaints one half of Asheville’s fire hydrants in order to extend their life spans and to be more visible to firefighters. Covering that kind of ground takes a lot of hands holding a lot of paintbrushes. That’s where Asheville’s active and engaged volunteer community comes in. A volunteer group can cover 20 to 30 hydrants in a day, and that, says Asheville Fire Department Division Chief of Safety and Training Barry Hendren, adds up to a big contribution.
“This is a great service project for our local organizations and it’s a huge help to us,” Hendren says. “Each fire company is assigned the upkeep of hydrants in a certain part of the city, and having volunteers help out frees up our firefighters and allows them to take care of other tasks.”
Its not just busywork, Hendren says. A bright coat of paint helps firefighters quickly find hydrants when responding to a fire and the colors tell them what water pressure the hydrant has and what kind of coupling to use. Red, orange, green and blue all denote different water flow. That information is critical when seconds can mean saved lives or property.
Repainting takes place between April and October and all kinds of groups, including schools, youth groups, scouting troops or civic organizations are invited to volunteer. The AFD provides all the materials and Hendren leads a short training session before volunteers head out with maps of the area they will cover. Hydrants assigned to volunteers are chosen so that volunteers don’t work on major traffic corridors.
For more information or to sign up to volunteer, contact the city’s Volunteer Coordinator Marsha Stickford at (828) 259-5506 or email: email@example.com..
Click below to see a video about volunteer fire hydrant painting made in collaboration with the Girl Scouts of Buncombe County:
A big thanks to all of the City of Asheville employees who came out and donated at the Asheville Fire Department and Asheville Police Department Blood Drive on October 24. The drive, held in the City of Asheville Municipal Building that houses both the APD and AFD, saw donors from multiple departments contributing where it counts.
“In our business, we see first hand that blood is always a precious commodity when it comes to saving lives,” said AFD Chief Scott Burnette. “We’re glad to host an event that helps that cause.”
To find local blood donor opportunities or get information about how your organization can host a blood drive, go to www.redcrossblood.org.
“Donating blood is an opportunity for people to give the most important gift of all, the ‘Gift of Life,’” said Stacy Taylor, Donor Resources, American Red Cross, Carolinas Blood Services Region. “The Red Cross depends on the generosity of volunteer donors to meet the needs of patients in our area and across the country.”
On September 24, 2012 the Asheville Fire Department was dispatched to 9091 Verde Vista Cr. in response to a reported structure fire. Crews arrived on scene to find heavy smoke coming from unit 5117 and also reported that the sprinkler system had been activated. Evacuation of nearby units was conducted but due to the activated sprinkler system the fire was confined to unit 5117 only and to the washing machine itself. AFD crews did not have to extinguish the fire because the quick activation of the sprinkler system was able to suppress the fire completely. Statistics show that the installation of both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system reduces the risk of death in a home fire by 82%.
Click here for more fire safety tips from the Asheville Fire Department.