I'm a Fire Fighter . . . Are You?

What a lesson I learned today in fire fighting from our Chelan County Fire District 3 Chief Kelly O'Brian and new Assistant Chief Glenn Brautesett today.  They graciously showed me around our fire station and chatted about their goals for fire fighting in Leavenworth.

And you know what? It turns out our best efforts in this field are NOT in fighting fires - they are in preventing fires!  So much for those sexy Hollywood shots of huge ladders rescuing children out of top stories.  By the time the ladder gets there, the building is usually toast.  They're just working to keep the fire from spreading.

I know a little about fire prevention, you know, from Smokey the Bear.  Like never leave a camp fire unattended and follow burn bans and Stop, Drop and Roll.  More recently I've been informed by the Chumstick Wildfire Stewardship Coalition about how to keep my roof fire-safe from wildfire embers.

But what a great lesson that urban fire prevention is at least as relevant.  There are more people to save than in the forest and more activity that creates fire.  We need to make sure our buildings help prevent fires from starting and spreading.  Especially here in Leavenworth where we depend on a volunteer fire crew and we live in HOT, DRY country for half our year.  Our Fire Department will do its best to put out fires, but what if there were a fire fighter on the scene when the fire started rather than 10 or 20 minutes later?  That's what a sprinkler system is! A fire fighter on the scene at every fire.

So today I decided as a city council member, I am one of our town's newest fire fighters!  I will be fighting fire through prevention, working with our fire department to educate and outreach to residents and businesses how to keep your buildings fire safe.  I will work with the Planning Commission and Council to develop our building code to promote and incentivize for fire safe buildings.  I am not on our Council Public Safety Committee this year, but I look forward to the recommendations they make to the council in collaboration with the Fire Department as well.

Fire fighting is a community effort that I hope you will all join in with me.  We will keep our town safe every day and if worse comes to worse, we know we can count on Fire District 3 to come through for us.

Check out the Chumstick Wildfire website for great information on how residents; businesses; and forest land owners can prevent fires!