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THE FIRE LANE: Fire Call Summary, February 2013
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Turlock City Fire Engineer Matt Campos

The Turlock Fire Department responded to a total of 451 incidents during the month of February. These included a total of 289 emergency medical service calls. Turlock Fire responded to 21 motor vehicle accidents, and 16 commercial/residential fire alarms. There were a total of 29 fire type calls:  10 building fires, 3 vehicle fires, 3 fires in motor home/campers, 1 arcing shorted electrical, 4 unauthorized burnings, 6 Dumpster fires, 1 chimney or flue fire, and 1 excessive heat burn. Remaining incidents consisted of public assists, assist to police, animal problem, water or steam leak, smoke checks, gas leaks, haz-mat, power lines down, etc.

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS: The Turlock Fire Department would like to congratulate Matt Campos on his promotion from the rank of Firefighter to the rank of Fire Engineer. Engineer Campos has been training and preparing for this position for the past two years. His preparation and readiness for the position of Fire Engineer was very noticeable during the testing process. All candidates were tested in an oral examination, written test, equipment identification exercise, and manipulative test. All four parts are designed to test the candidates knowledge, skills, and abilities; making sure they meet the standards set by the Turlock Fire Department to protect the citizens of Turlock and what matters most. Campos did an outstanding job throughout the testing process, and we believe he will be a great representative for the department.


1. STAY IN THE KITCHEN —  The most common fires occur from people leaving food on the stove unattended. Don't leave the kitchen while you have things cooking. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove and take your pots and pans off the heat. This is equally important if you are broiling food in the oven — take the food out of the oven and turn off the broiler. 

2. WATCH YOUR CLOTHIG —  Long, flowing sleeves, large-fitting shirts and even aprons can catch fire. When cooking, wear short or close-fitted sleeves and keep your baggy shirts tucked in or tied back with a well-fitted apron.

3. BE AWARE OF THE ITEMS AROUND THE STOVETOP — Kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords and even curtains can easily catch fire if set near a hot burner. Always move flammable items away from your stovetop. Be careful when using towels to move a pot off the burner. Ideally, use an oven mitt, but if using a towel, be sure it doesn't dangle down and touch the burner.

4. KEEP A FIRE EXTINGUISHER IN OR NEAR THE KITCHEN — In the case you do have a fire, a fire extinguisher can make the difference between an easy to clean up burned pan and a kitchen engulfed in flames. Be sure you actually know how to use it, too.

5. CHANGE THE BATTERIES IN YOUR SMOKE DETECTOR — Chances are you have a smoke detector in the kitchen or in the room adjacent to the kitchen. It's not enough to have a smoke detector, you need to make sure the smoke detector is operable. Change your smoke detector batteries every six months. Good rule of thumb is to change your batteries when you change the time during daylight savings time. 

6. NEVER THROW HOT GREASE IN THE GARBAGE CAN — Never throw hot grease in the garbage can. Even if the grease isn't on fire, it can cause something in the garbage to burn." Instead, let grease cool and dispose of it in an old coffee can. 

8. BE PREPARED TO PUT OUT A FIRE — Though you don't want a fire to occur, be prepared in the case it does. The best thing to do if you have a stovetop fire is to put a proper fitting lid over the pan or pot to smother it. Never use water and never pick a burning pan up and put it in the sink. You not only risk spreading the fire to the sink, you risk getting badly burned. Do not use flour to put out a fire, it can burn too.  

10. STOP, DROP, ROLL— In the event you do catch fire, follow the Stop, Drop, Roll principle. Don't run if your clothing catches fire. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll. Then get to a hospital to get treatment for your burns. Don't ever hesitate to call your local fire department – even if you have successfully put out your fire. It's better to be safe than sorry. Practice fire prevention measures every time you are in the kitchen, and be sure to pass the measures on to your kids.