Volume No. 16 Issue No. 3 March 2019  

  Body armor, ice rescue & CO warnings
  By Robin Widmar

     EDITOR’S NOTE: The FFPD meeting wrap up will return next month. The February meeting took place after the NFH deadline, and we did not have an NFH writer at the meeting.
   Shield616 presents body armor to Falcon firefighters
   On Feb. 4, the Falcon Fire Protection District received its first set of rifle-rated body armor from the Shield616 organization. The staff at Rock Solid Chiropractic in Falcon raised funds to purchase the gear and then presented it to the FFPD.
   The armor consists of a plate carrier vest that holds two lightweight rifle-rated plates, a ballistic helmet and an individual gunshot wound trauma kit. The gear costs about $3,000 to $3,500 per set, and it must be replaced every five years. The goal of Shield616 is to outfit all law enforcement and fire personnel with this life-saving equipment.
   To learn more about Shield616 and its mission to protect first responders, visit https://www.shield616.org/
   Ice rescue training
   Ice rescues do not occur often in the Falcon area; but, when they do, firefighters must be ready to respond. Every year, Falcon firefighters complete ice rescue classes that include both lecture and hands-on experience. The training allows new personnel to learn critical rescue skills while providing an opportunity for senior personnel to refresh their own skills and share their expertise. This year, firefighters went to a pond in the Black Forest Reserve to practice various ice rescue techniques, including self-rescue and rescuing another person. They used the same dry suits and equipment they will use in an actual rescue, which helps ensure familiarity with the gear.
   Firefighters want to remind residents that ice in El Paso County is typically not safe enough to walk on, even during the coldest winter months. For their safety, people should stay off iced-over ponds and lakes and teach their children to do the same. When walking pets near frozen water, keep them leashed so they do not go onto the ice.
   Properly working vents and carbon monoxide alarms
   Falcon firefighters have responded to several incidents this winter where properly working alarms alerted occupants to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in their homes.
   Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas often called the silent or invisible killer. It is produced when fuels like gasoline, natural gas, propane and wood do not burn completely. Home heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon monoxide incidents are typically more common during the winter months when houses are closed up tight against cold temperatures.
   Recent local news reports highlighted the dangers posed by damaged appliance and furnace vents on roofs. Last year’s destructive hailstorms caused millions of dollars in damage, but in some cases they caused severe damage to rooftop exhaust vents. Consequently, carbon monoxide and other exhaust gases built up in the structures.
   If a home has sustained hail damage, have a licensed professional inspect and repair any damaged vents or piping. The Angie’s List website also recommends having all vents inspected following roof replacement or repair because sometimes vents are not reinstalled correctly.
   Vents for appliances and furnaces, as well as chimneys for fireplaces or wood stoves, must meet building and fire safety codes. They should be installed by licensed professionals, but then it is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure they are kept in good working order. That includes making sure vents are not blocked by snow or storm debris.
   As always, the first line of defense against a carbon monoxide emergency is a working alarm. Change the batteries at least once a year, and replace any carbon monoxide alarms older than seven years or when recommended by the manufacturer. (Look for the manufacture date and/or expiration date on the back of the alarm.) Sensors lose sensitivity over time, so it is important that all alarms be replaced when recommended.
   Stay connected with the Falcon Fire Protection District
   Website: http://www.falconfirepd.org
   Facebook: Falcon Fire Department
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
Falcon Fire Protection District firefighters went to a pond in the Black Forest Reserve to practice various ice rescue techniques, including self-rescue and rescuing another person. Photo by Robin Widmar
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