Dangers Associated with Portable/Stationary Space Heaters

GFD PatchThe Greensboro Fire Department wants to remind residents about the dangers associated with using portable/stationary space heaters. Earlier this week, a Greensboro resident experienced a residential structure fire as a direct result of combustibles being left too close to a space heater. 

As we transition from fall to winter, a few simple heating safety tips and precautions can help residents prevent most heating fires:

  • Keep combustible materials at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like fireplaces, wood stoves, or portable space heaters.
  • Provide a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • 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.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

If you do not have a working smoke alarm, the Greensboro Fire Department offers the alarm and installation free of charge by calling 336-574-4088.

Source: City of Greensboro Fire Department


Governor McCrory Proclaims October 16 as Earthquake Preparedness Day

Governor Pat McCrory has proclaimed October 16 as Earthquake Preparedness Day and is encouraging North Carolina families, business and schools to practice how to protect themselves in an earthquake by using three simple steps: drop, cover and hold.

“Although rare, earthquakes do happen in North Carolina, so it is always best to be prepared,” McCrory said. “This year, the state has already experienced four minor earthquakes. While those were mild, we remember the impacts from the Virginia earthquake three years ago. Knowing what to do will help keep you safe.”

An estimated 100 million people felt the earthquake in Mineral, Virginia on August 23, 2011 that damaged homes and buildings in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

If you feel shaking, emergency management and earthquake officials recommended that you:

  • Drop to the ground
  • Take cover under a sturdy desk or table 
  • Hold on to the desk until the shaking stops. 
  • If there is no table or desk nearby, crouch in an inside corner of a building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.  
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, bookshelves, lamps, TVs, cabinets and other objects as much as possible. Such items may fall and cause injuries.   

Do not get in a doorway. It is not safe and does not protect you from falling or flying objects.

Do not run outside. Running in an earthquake is dangerous. The ground is moving making it easy to fall or be injured by falling structures, trees, debris or glass. If you are outside during an earthquake, move to a clear area that is away from trees, signs, buildings or downed electrical lines.

McCrory encouraged North Carolinians to join the other Southeastern states and Washington, D.C., in the third Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake exercise, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 16 at 10:16 a.m.

Families, businesses and schools can register their participation at www.shakeout.org/southeast. Participants will be notified of events in their area and receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.  

More earthquake preparedness tips can be found online at www.ReadyNC.org. North Carolinians can also download the free ReadyNC mobile app – available for both iPhone and Droid devices – that provides real-time weather and traffic alerts plus readiness tips for a variety of emergencies.

“Ground shaking from earthquakes typically lasts only a minute or two, but aftershocks can continue for several days,” said North Carolina’s Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.  “It only takes a few minutes to rehearse what to do in such an emergency.” 

Source: North Carolina Division of Emergency Management


Damaging Thunderstorms Possible Tonight and Tomorrow

Widespread showers and storms will accompany a cold front as it tracks into central North Carolina late tonight and Wednesday. An isolated storm could become severe, with a primary threat of damaging winds or an isolated tornado. The potential for severe weather will be greatest early Wednesday morning. Widespread rainfall amounts of an inch or more can be expected due to the slow movement of this system. Minor flooding will be possible,  especially in urban areas. An isolated severe storm will remain possible along the cold front through Wednesday morning.

Severe Weather 10.14


Severe Weather Threat Tuesday (10/14)

The National Weather Service in Raleigh is forecasting severe weather tomorrow (Tuesday 10/14) evening into tomorrow night. The main threat is severe thunderstorms with strong winds and localized flooding. Also, an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. Please pay close attention to the weather tomorrow! For the most up-to-date information, refer to the National Weather Service and local media outlets. Below is an excerpt from tomorrow’s Hazardous Weather Outlook for Guilford County.

“…NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL ACCOMPANY A SLOW MOVING COLD FRONT AS IT TRACKS EAST INTO THE WESTERN PIEDMONT LATE TUESDAY EVENING AND TUESDAY NIGHT. A FEW STORMS COULD BECOME SEVERE…WITH A PRIMARY THREAT OF DAMAGING WINDS OR AN ISOLATED TORNADO. IN ADDITION TO THE POTENTIAL FOR SEVERE WEATHER…WIDESPREAD RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF AN INCH OR MORE CAN BE EXPECTED DUE TO THE SLOW MOVEMENT OF THIS SYSTEM…”

Take time now and prepare for the severe weather threat. For preparedness and safety information, visit the ReadyGuilford website. Also, take time and review your severe weather safety plans with your family and co-workers.

Please prepare now and stay safe!


Ebola Preparedness in Guilford County

The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. More recently, the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on September 30, 2014, an event that has understandably led to an increased level of concern in the general public.

Although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. is very low, the CDC, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) and the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services (GCDHHS), along with key community partners, are taking steps to keep this from happening.

For instance, GCDHHS (Division of Public Health) in conjunction with state and federal agencies, local health care systems, and Guilford County Emergency Services are actively monitoring for cases using a variety of methods, including surveillance of hospital emergency department visits and outpatient clinic visits. Guilford County Public Health has been working closely with local hospitals and other public health partners, including healthcare providers and emergency responders throughout the county to coordinate a comprehensive management plan in the event that an Ebola case were to occur in the area. Therefore, if an Ebola case occurred in Guilford County, state and local public health professionals would rapidly identify everyone who was potentially exposed and take immediate measures to prevent further spread. Both state and local public health professionals have extensive training and experience with this type of investigation and response. To date, no cases of Ebola have been identified in North Carolina.

So what do you need to know about the Ebola virus? Dr. Laura Bachmann, Public Health’s Medical Director and a Professor of Infectious Diseases at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, stresses the following reminders:

  • A person infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until symptoms appear. Symptoms or signs of the disease appear from 2 to 21 days after exposure though the average time from exposure to symptoms is 8 to 10 days.
  • Symptoms of Ebola include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
  • Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or through mucous membranes such as can be found in the eyes, nose or mouth) with blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, and through direct contact with objects like needles or syringes that have been contaminated with the blood and body fluids of a person sick with Ebola.
  • Ebola is NOT spread through the air, through water or through food.

What can you do to protect yourself from Ebola? Dr. Bachmann endorses the current CDC guidance which includes the following steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch the blood or body fluids (for example, urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat and semen) of people who are sick.
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids and do not touch the body of someone who has died of Ebola.

Finally, Dr. Bachmann advises the following, “Keep in mind that we are getting into cold and flu season and that many people will have similar symptoms from much more common illnesses – not Ebola! Get your flu shot and other recommended vaccinations. Do not go to work or school if you are sick. Check in with your health care provider should you become ill and make sure to tell your health care provider if you have traveled recently from a country where the Ebola outbreak is ongoing or if you have possibly had contact with a person infected with Ebola.”

For more information and updates, contact Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health at (336) 641-6500.


Millions to Participate in Earthquake Drill October 16

North Carolina Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry encourages North Carolinians to join more than one million people across six southeastern states and the District of Columbia who have committed to participate in the third Great Southeast ShakeOut.

The regional earthquake drill, set to be held on Oct. 16 at 10:16 a.m., has participants simultaneously practice what to do to protect themselves in an earthquake.

“Earthquakes are rare in North Carolina, but four already have occurred this year in the western part of the state. Knowing what to do and practicing three simple steps will better protect you in an earthquake,” said Secretary Perry.

Emergency management and earthquake experts recommend the following actions in an earthquake:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake makes you fall)
  • Take COVER under a sturdy desk or table
  • HOLD ON to the desk until the shaking stops.

If there is no table or desk nearby, crouch in an inside corner of a building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.  Stay away from bookshelves, lamps, TVs, cabinets and other objects as much as possible. Such items may fall and cause injuries.

Perry said residents, schools, communities and businesses can register to participate at www.shakeout.org/southeast. The website also offers resources to help you plan an earthquake drill including instruction manuals, videos, audio drill broadcasts, earthquake scenarios and more.

Great ShakeOut Earthquake drills are being held in more than 45 states and territories. More than 22 million people worldwide are expected to participate in the activity. ShakeOut participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups. The program’s goal is to engage individuals to take steps to become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.  

Download the free ReadyNC mobile app that provides for safety tips and real-time weather and traffic information.

Source: North Carolina Department of Public Safety


Homeland Security Begins with Hometown Security

Homeland security begins with hometown security! An alert public plays a critical role in keeping our nation safe. Strengthening hometown security involves educating the public on the necessity to be aware of suspicious activity and to report that activity to local law enforcement. If You See Something, Say Something™! If you see something suspicious taking place then report that behavior or activity to local law enforcement or in the case of emergency call 9-1-1. The public should report suspicious behavior and situations such as a unattended backpack in a public place or someone trying to break into a restricted area. Keep in mind, factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious.

For more information on the If You See Something, Say Something™ program, visit the Department of Homeland Security website.

Source: US Department of Homeland Security


Fire Prevention Week Extravaganza

Greensboro Fire Department is hosting a “Passport to Safety” event on Saturday, October 4th, 11am-2pm. This is a FREE event, open to the community. It was a huge success last year and this year even more has been added!! Police, Fire, EMS, Red Cross, Safe Guilford, and many more are coming to participate! Inflatable’s, activities, prizes & more!

FPW Open House


Enterovirus – Important Information from Public Health

DHHS LogoState officials have confirmed several children in North Carolina have been diagnosed with the Enterovirus, a respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe. In response to this news, the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services has released the following information:

Enterovirus (EV) Information:

  • EVs are very common viruses; there are more than 100 types, including EV-D68.
  • An estimated 10 to 15 million EV infections occur in the United States each year.
  • Infants, children and teenagers are most likely to be infected and become sick with EVs, because they may not have been exposed to EVs and have not yet built up immunity to them.
  • Most EV infections in the United States occur seasonally during the summer or fall.
  • Most people infected with EV have only mild illness, but some may have severe respiratory symptoms.

Symptoms of an EV:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose, sneezing or cough
  • Skin rash
  • Mouth blisters
  • Body and muscle aches

Treatment:

  • There is no specific treatment for EV or EV-D68, many infections are self-limiting and require only treatment for symptoms.
  • Some people with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive therapy.
  • No anti-viral medications are currently available for EV or EV-D68 infections.

Prevention:

  • No vaccine is currently available.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

For more information, contact Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services at (336) 641-7777 or www.guilfordhealth.org , your health care provider or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/ .

Para información en español: Enterovirus FS 9-2014 Doc SP 091814 (2)236.0 KiB27

Fire Department Hosts Carnival to Kickoff Fire Prevention Week

GFD PatchThe Greensboro Fire Department is kicking off Fire Prevention Week with its Fire and Life Safety Carnival “Passport to Safety” from 11 am to 2 pm Saturday, October 4 at Fire Station One, 1510 N. Church St. Parents and children will be able to visit interactive stations set up on the fire department drill ground. For each safety station completed, children will be given a stamp in their passport book and the chance to win prizes.

Safety stations include American Red Cross, Bike Rodeo, Medicine Safety, Distracted Driving, Seatbelt Safety, Fire Hose Challenge, and the Firefighter Combat Challenge. The fire department is also providing free popcorn and cotton candy.

Source: City of Greensboro Fire Department