Peggy Kiefer

Grove Sun

Local city emergency services representatives met Thursday to discuss ways to lessen the impact of urban fires and wildfires in the area. Ron Flanagan, Consultant from Flanagan & Associates, LLC in Tulsa, met with fire, police, EMS, public works and other local representatives at Grove City Hall.

After learning about some of the programs Grove offers, Flanagan complimented the city on having “one of the most comprehensive programs I’ve seen,” he said.

Programs that were discussed included Camp Bandage and the traveling smoke house, as well as smoke detector distribution by the fire department.

“Our main focus is in schools,” explained Grove Fire Marshall Mike Reed.

It starts with the kids,” said Reed. Grove emergency services puts on Camp Bandage every year for all students in the area each year, where students learn about calling 911 and other things to do in an emergency.

Flanagan was so impressed with the program he wants to present it to other cities as a possible program for their area.

Grove Fire Dept. has a smoke house that travels to the local schools. The smoke house fills up with smoke so children can learn what they need to do in case of a fire. Reed stated that the smoke house is available for any school who would like them to bring it and is also available for any local fire departments to borrow.

Grove Fire purchases smoke detectors for individuals who need or can’t afford one.

“Anyone who comes in and asks for a smoke detector gets one,” said Reed.

Another means Grove Fire uses to protect residents from fire is by requiring burn permits.

“Residents are required to first come in and apply for a permit, then fire investigates before issuing the permit,” said Reed.

“Many of the fires in Grove are started by an out-of-control burn,” he added.

See inset for tips on preparing a house for wildland fire season. The next Hazards Mitigation meeting will focus on winter storms.

Preparing a house for wildland fire season:

1. Remove dead or overhanging branches. During the windy conditions that exist during a wildland fire, flames, sparks and firebrands could travel from the tree to the roof of this structure.

2. Remove leaf accumulation from your yard. Leaf accumulation provides fuel for a wildland fire.

3. Remove leaf clutter from your roof and gutters. During a wildand fire, leaves on the roof and/or in the gutters could be ignited by flying embers.

4. Remove tall, dry grasses. Tall, dry grasses provide a path for fire that can lead directly to a house.

5. Remove “ladder fuels”. Prune tree limbs so the lowest is between 6-10 feet from the ground. Fire burning through tall, dry grass could ignited these limbs and climb to the top of the tree with relative ease.

6. Check your generator and/or hose to be sure it is in good repair. Refuel garden equipment carefully. Yard equipment needs annual maintenance and proper fueling. Hoses develop leaks and deriorate with age and exposure. During wildland fire season, fuel your lawn mower properly – away from dry flammable grasses.

7. Prune bushes and shrubs regularly. Remove excess growth as well as dead leaves and branches to decrease their flamability and the threat they could pose during a wildland fire.

Dispose of cuttings and debris promptly, according to local regulations.

Find more Firewise tips at www.firewise.org.