Alaska News

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Fire report details 2017 fatalities, injuries across Alaska

As fire deaths are on the rise in Alaska, so are the efforts to prevent them, according to a report released by the Division of Fire and Life Safety. On Tuesday, the division released those statistics for 2017. The information was gathered from 170 participating fire departments throughout the state. According to the data, there were 19 deaths last year, which is up 6 percent. Six of those 19 were children younger than 10. Last fall, five young girls were killed from smoke inhalation during a fire that happened in the Butte. Investigators ruled that fire accidental and said cooking was the cause. According to the division, every eight minutes an Alaska fire department responded to a call. Every 11 hours was a call about a residential fire and every two hours, they responded to a false call. Attended fires were up 16 percent, the report said, but grass brush and wildland incidents down seven of every 10 structure fires were residential. Property loss was listed at over $95 million.
KTVA-TV CBS 11 Anchorage

Vehicle strikes fuel pump at Palmer gas station

Fast-acting bystanders helped prevent a potential catastrophe after a vehicle struck a fuel pump at the Fred Meyer gas station in Palmer Tuesday afternoon. Just before 4 p.m., Frederick Anderson, 70, of Palmer, was traveling southbound on the Glenn Highway in a gold Chevrolet Equinox, according to the Palmer Police Department, when the vehicle abruptly turned left, plowed over a curb and fence, and into the gas station. The Equinox hit one of the fuel pumps and struck a Jeep Cherokee, which was pushed into a Ford F250. The Equinox came to a stop next to the store portion of the station. Palmer Fire Chief John McNutt said there was a small fire, which was extinguished by bystanders before authorities arrived. “People acted quickly,” Palmer Police Chief Lance Ketterling said later Tuesday evening. “For all fueling points, fire is a primary concern.”
Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Column: The continuing debate on turnout gear service life

Over the past several years, we have written various columns associated with the care and maintenance of firefighter protective clothing and equipment. One of the perennial issues on this topic has been gear service life. In many cases, this particular topic has been a subject of polarization among the fire service, particularly when it comes to firefighter helmets. In this month’s column, we attempt to shed more light on this topic to allow fire departments and individual firefighters to make better informed choices with respect to their gear service life. All clothing and equipment have a finite service life. For the most part, turnout gear is designed to be quite durable, made with rugged materials that are intended to repeatedly provide protection under a wide range of varying exposure conditions. By definition, service life is the length of time that clothing and equipment can remain in service while still providing a minimum level of protection. Nevertheless, even brand new gear that is subject to a serious fire event can require immediate retirement. Similarly, gear that is abused or improperly cared for can also lead to a shortened service life.

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