VIRGINIA – During the week of Dec. 31, 2019 – Jan. 6, 2019, the Virginia Fire Department was called for service 102 times: 89 medical calls and 13 fire calls. The fire calls varied from public assists, a building fire, gas leaks, water problems, false alarms, steam leak, and motor vehicle accidents.
The medical calls included 24 transfers and 65 local EMS calls. The transfers brought us to the Cook Hospital, Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing and Essentia Health-Virginia to transport patients to St. Luke’s Hospital and Essentia Health-St. Mary’s in Duluth, Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing and Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital in Grand Rapids.
The local EMS calls brought us to Biwabik, Britt, Cotton, Cook, Embarrass, Eveleth, Gilbert, Iron, Mt. Iron, and Virginia. These patients were transported to air medical, the Cook Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, Fairview Range Medical Center, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s, Essentia Health-Northern Pines in Aurora and to Virginia.
During this week Friday was the busiest day with trauma being the top reason for call. We performed 134 procedures.
The Fire Marshal’s Office investigated one fire, one gas leak and one fire sprinkler activation, and inspected two buildings. The Fire Explorers worked on public relations and other year-end projects.
In 2018, the Virginia Fire Department responded to 4,385 calls, of those calls 3,767 or 86 percent were medical calls. Of the 618 fire-type calls Virginia responded to, 33 were actual fires in either Virginia or our mutual aid department areas. A large percentage of the fire department’s time is spent conducting inter-facility transports, as each is approximately a 3.5- hour call. The VFD provided 1,268 inter-facility transports in 2018. Call demand for both emergency calls and non-emergency transports have shattered all previous records.
Using extension cords
Not enough cord for your lamp or radio to reach the nearest outlet? Just plowing through the junk drawer for an extension cord? This may not be a good idea. Extension cords can be very helpful in delivering power right where we need it. However, regardless of the gauge or rating of the cord, an extension cord is a temporary solution, and is not meant to be used as a longterm extension of your household’s electrical system.
Using extension cords properly is critical to your safety. With continuous use over time, an extension cord can rapidly deteriorate, creating a potentially dangerous electric shock or fire hazard. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) offers the following tips for staying safe from electric shock and electrical fires:
• Do not overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground.
• Do not substitute extension cords for permanent wiring.
• Do not run through walls, doorways, ceilings or floors. If cord is covered, heat cannot escape, which may result in a fire hazard.
• Do not use an extension cord for more than one appliance.
• A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have additional outlets installed where you need them.
• Multiple plug outlets must be plugged directly into mounted electrical receptacles; they cannot be chained together.
• Make sure the extension cord or temporary power strip you use is rated for the products to be plugged in, and is marked for either indoor or outdoor use.
• The appliance or tool that you are using the cord with will have a wattage rating on it. Match this up with your extension cord, and do not use a cord that has a lower rating.
• Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged in any way. Touching even a single exposed strand can give you an electric shock or burn.
• Never use three-prong plugs with outlets that only have two slots for the plug. Do not cut off the ground pin to force a fit. This defeats the purpose of a three-prong plug and could lead to an electrical shock. Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit.
• Use extension cords with polarized and/or three-prong plugs.
• Buy only cords approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), ETL-SEMKO (ETL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
Submitted by Fire Chief Allen Lewis, Virginia Fire Department.