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Vidalia Fire Department
Fire Prevention Division
Captain Vanier
204 Vernon Stevens Boulevard
Vidalia, Louisiana 71373
tvanier@vidalialafd.com



The Vidalia Fire Department Offers Community Burn Education Program To Hell and Back. This program teaches the reality of burn injuries and prevention.   Sustaining a severe burn is one of the most painful and devastating injuries a body can endure. More than 250,000 of burn injuries occur every year in the United States and more than 10 percent of those injuries result in death. The Vidalia Fire Department is working to lower those statistics by first changing behaviors in our own community through a new nationally recognized and distributed burn education and prevention program called To Hell and Back: Community Awareness.

The program is geared for adults and high school students and is the first of its kind offering “reality TV” on what happens to the skin when a burn injury occurs and the life-long impact of severe burn injuries. Using real life experiences of burn survivors, the program was developed by The People’s Burn Foundation and a national team of fire service experts to ultimately teach the importance of being proactive in practicing burn prevention. It is a free program funded with an Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Department Homeland Security.

“I thought this program was a great reality check,” said one high school student during pilot site testing. “I always knew about burns, but never the severe physical, mental, social, and financial consequences. I believe this program will be good for all high school students.”

“I believe this is ‘must see TV’ for every high school student, parent and adult in our community,”. “It is graphic and powerful, and it is the reality of burn injuries. Our community is fortunate to have this program available because it will save lives.”

“I thought the program gave a good look at what it would be like to be a burn victim,” said one high school student. “Following the recovery of four severely burned people made it more real and helped us understand burn care and prevention. It makes me thankful for everything I can do and will do to make myself and others more cautious about preventing burns in the future.”

Another student said: “The video did a great job of explaining the sequence of events with helping and caring for burn victims. From a science standpoint, the explanation of the layers of skin and how they are affected was great. Hopefully this DVD will help others think about the consequences of playing with fire and why it is important not to be burned.”


Winter Fire Preventive Tips & Safety

   HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Be sure all decorative lights, indoor and outdoor bear the label of an independent testing laboratory. Replace any light sets that have cracked or frayed cords or have loose connections. Do not overload outlets or run extension cords under carpets, across doorways, on or under heaters, or behind furniture. Unplug all decorative lights before leaving home or going to bed.

   FIREPLACES

Keep fire where it belongs - in the fireplace! Make sure you have a screen large enough to catch flying sparks and rolling logs. Clean your chimney regularly - creosote build-up can ignite your chimney, roof and the whole house! Have your chimney inspected annually for damage and obstructions. Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container. Cardboard boxes and paper bags can quickly catch fire. Only burn materials appropriate for a fireplace, never burn trash or paper, burning paper can float up a chimney and onto your roof or into your yard.

   FURNACES

Furnaces should have regular maintenance to operate properly. Annual cleaning, inspection are recommended. As mentioned before, have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually. Don’t use the oven for heating!

   SPACE HEATERS

Space heaters need their space! Keep combustibles at least three feet away from each heater. When buying a heater, look for a thermostat control mechanism and a switch that automatically shuts off the power if the heater falls over. Heaters are not dryers or tables! Don’t dry or store objects on top of your heater.

Safety is a top consideration when using space heaters. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters, causing more than 300 deaths. An estimated 6,000 persons receive hospital emergency room care for burn injuries associated with contacting hot surfaces of room heaters, mostly in non-fire situations.

When buying and installing a small space heater, follow these guidelines:

  • Only purchase newer model heaters that have all of the current safety features. Make sure the heater has the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) label attached to it.
  • Choose a thermostatically controlled heater, since they avoid the energy waste of overheating a room.
  • Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.
  • Locate the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.

   When buying and installing an electric space heater, you should follow these general safety guidelines:

  • Electric heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord is necessary, use a heavy-duty cord of 14-guage wire or larger.
  • For portable electric heaters, buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.

   CANDLES

Always put candles in non-tip candleholders before you light them, and do not burn candles near decorations or displays. Keep candles well away from curtains, and never put candles in windows or near exits. Never leave a room with a candle burning or within reach of small children.