Welcome to Pinellas County EMS & Fire Public Outreach page. We created this page to help residents connect with important resources vital for your health, safety, and welfare.
Resolve to have a heat-safe New Year. When the weather gets chilly in the winter, residents tend to turn up the heat. Did you know heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths? Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February.
Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires and keep you safe if a fire does occur:
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide is an invisible killer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning every year.
Over 20,000 others visit the emergency room and another 4,000 are hospitalized. The winter months are at the peak of carbon monoxide poisonings.
A working carbon monoxide detector can save the lives of you and your family. Here are some tips to keep your home and your loved ones safe:
- Replace the battery for your home’s CO detector each spring and fall.
- Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Never run a car or truck inside an attached garage.
- Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
- Never use a generator inside your home or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. Fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes.
- Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished.
- Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.
- Never use gas ovens for heating your home.
- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Learn more at the National Safety Council’s website: www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/carbon-monoxide.aspx.
National Blood Donor Month
January has marked National Blood Donor Month since 1970. Winter has traditionally been one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs, so celebrating National Blood Donor Month has a goal of increasing blood and platelet donations during this time of year.
During the cooler weather months, seasonal illnesses like the flu may cause some donors to become temporarily unable to donate and inclement weather can result in cancelled blood drives.
Make a resolution to give blood when you can.
Keep a kit in your car
As we begin 2018, take a few moments to check your vehicle’s emergency supply kit. Every car should have one in the trunk in case an accident, weather, or car trouble leads to stranding. Kits should be checked every six months and expired items should be replaced to keep the kit up to date.
The National Safety Council suggests the following items should be part of your kit:
- A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, and tripod jack
- Jumper cables
- Toolkit and/or a multipurpose utility tool
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
- First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, non-latex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers, and instant cold compress
- Nonperishable, high-energy foods, such as unsalted nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy
- Drinking water
- Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help
- Car charger for your cell phone
- Fire extinguisher
- Duct tape
- Rain poncho
Additional items for cold weather include windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, and blankets.
It’s also a good idea to keep family and emergency phone numbers, including your auto insurance provider and a towing company, in your phone.
Learn more at www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/What-to-Keep-in-the-Car.aspx.
On-going Programs to know....