September 11, 2008
Station Promotes Safety During Open House
According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) overall fire statistics in 2007, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,557,500 fires. These fires resulted in 3,430 civilian fire fatalities, 17,675 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $14,639,000,000 in direct property loss.
There was a civilian fire death every 153 minutes and a civilian fire injury every 30 minutes last year as well and, if that is not bad enough the association reported that home fires caused 2,865, or 84 percent, of the civilian fire deaths. Fires accounted for six percent of the 25,334,500 total calls. Nine percent of the calls were false alarms; 62 percent of the calls were for aid such as EMS. On an average, every three hours someone in the U.S. dies in a home fire and more than half of home fire deaths result from incidents reported between 11 p.m.-7 a.m.
Statistics in general can be cold and impersonal, but when the numbers include one’s town, neighborhood or friends and family, the view changes quickly. To assist as well as encourage fire safety awareness and avoid becoming a part of such grim statistics, local fire stations are taking precautions. The Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Station, located at 4705 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, is planning to hold its annual Community Open House at the fire station on October 11 beginning at 10 a.m.
The event is in conjunction with the National Fire Prevention Week which falls this year from October 6-12, urging Florida residents to take some time to review fire safety, and prevention procedures in their homes.
According to District Fire Chief Van Tisdale, the event is open to all ages, families and children and is focusing on the basics such as how to prevent a fire and how to react to a fire.
“As in the past the purpose of the Annual Open House is to keep everyone’s mind on fire safety while allowing local residents to get a closer look at the station’s fire apparatus, while the day’s activities will include finger printing safety demonstrations, live rescue demos, along with free hamburgers, hotdogs and drinks,” Tisdale said, adding, “The day’s subject is serious, but we want everyone to have fun as they come out and join us.”
Tisdale said that a local salvage yard has donated a couple of vehicles to be used to demonstrate a special operation procedure for all to see.
“We are going to show everyone how to cut up a car in a rescue situation,” Tisdale said.
The station, which has been at its current location since 1990, responds to 1,500-1,600 emergencies as well as an average of 200 non-emergencies per year. The 30 or so active firefighters and EMTs at the Bloomingdale station handle all incoming calls with three to four firefighters at the station at all times.
While the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Station alone saves Hillsborough County about $1 million a year, the department operates on and uses volunteer contributions, donations as well as fundraising as a primary source of funding.
“A lot of people don’t realize that they are serviced by a volunteer fire department,” said Tisdale but mentioned that the station appreciates all the support from both the county as well as local businesses and residents.
For more information about The National Fire Prevention Week and the station’s annual Community Open House, please call 744-5906 or visit www.NFPA.org.