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When a Hurricane Strikes, Prepare for Fire and Other Dangers

Iona McGregor Fire District  — Are you prepared? The Atlantic hurricane season started June 1. Make a plan now to keep your family safe ( “Fire safety should be a key part of every household hurricane safety plan,” says Fire Marshal Steffens.

Follow this advice to minimize risks associated with severe weather:

Older adults may need help in severe weather. Check in on older neighbors. Make sure that eyeglasses, prescription medicine, canes and walkers are kept close at hand, especially at night. In an emergency, older adults may need help getting to safety. Stationary oxygen generators require energy to operate. Have a battery-powered oxygen generator, and make sure that the battery is fully charged before the storm.

Powerful storms will knock down tree limbs and power lines, causing electricity to go out. Never touch a downed power line. Stay away from it, and report it to the power company. If the wire is sparking or touching a building, call 911.

Many families use a portable generator for backup power. [insert fire department name] warns that portable generators have fire and burn dangers and can cause carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a colorless, odorless gas. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of CO. Breathing too much of it is deadly. Follow this advice for safer use:

  • Make sure that your home has working CO detectors.
  • Read the portable generator’s manual, and follow the directions.
  • Place the generator outside, well away from doors, windows and vents.
  • Generators need ventilation. Never place a working generator in the garage.
  • Choose an area that is dry. Coming in contact with water can cause electrocution.
  • Never smoke while fueling the generator.
  • Add fuel to the generator before you operate it. Turn it off before refueling.
  • Connect the generator with a heavy-duty extension cord designed for outside use. Never use cords that are fraying or broken.

Expect prolonged electrical outages after a major storm. Lit candles are too dangerous for emergency lighting. Many things in your home can catch fire if they come too close to a candle’s flame. Plan ahead. Buy flashlights, and stock up on batteries. If you must use a candle when the power is out:

  • Put the candle in a sturdy holder and on a flat surface.
  • Make sure that the candle is at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
  • Keep children and pets away from the candle.
  • Blow the candle out if you leave the room, get sleepy, or go to bed.

During power outages, you may need to rely on a fireplace or wood stove to heat your home. Never use the oven to heat your home.

  • Have heating equipment, chimneys and chimney connectors inspected. Make repairs if they are needed.
  • Put anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Closely watch children and pets around fireplaces and wood stoves.
  • Burn only wood in the fireplace. Keep seasoned hardwood on hand.

A good emergency plan includes a supply of prepared foods that don’t have to be cooked. If you do use camp stoves and barbecue grills, they must be used outdoors only. Otherwise, they can cause CO poisoning.

If you are required to leave your home, you may be staying in a community evacuation shelter. Immediately identify the two exits closest to your location in the shelter. Make sure that you can get outside from both exits.


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POSITION: RECEPTIONIST Open Date: July 12, 2019 Closing Date: July 19, 2019 at 3:00 pm. Please submit resume to [email protected] prior to deadline. A copy of the job description can be found in the Employment section of the website located under Resources.


CPR Training

CPR saves lives!

In an emergency, seconds matter. By knowing basic life-saving skills, like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), could mean the difference between life or death for a loved one or a stranger. If CPR is started promptly, a person’s chance of survival goes up drastically.

The Iona McGregor Fire District offers several different CPR classes to residents and businesses in our community. By attending one of the classes, you will leave feeling more confident and comfortable, if you are ever in a situation where help is needed. Our district offers a free program called Friends and Family CPR. We also offer Heartsaver CPR, a credentialed class through the American Heart Association (AHA), and BLS Provider, for a fee. All of our classes our taught by Iona McGregor firefighters, who are certified as CPR instructors. You will learn the skills needed to perform CPR for patients of all ages, how to use an AED, and how to help someone who is choking.

The courses all begin by answering the question, “Why do I want to know CPR?” As the AHA says, “life is why.” For the Iona McGregor Fire District, it is our responsibility to protect lives. Through these programs, we are able to engage with our community to do just that.

CPR can assist someone’s heart and/or breathing by doing just chest compressions or chest compressions with breaths. Just think about the difference you could make in someone’s life if you learned how to perform CPR and use an AED.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest outside of the hospital. While this isn’t the sole reason CPR would be needed, it is one of the major medical issues when CPR is administered.

Earlier this year, we learned a few of our past CPR class attendees, saved lives. A man saved his wife’s life after she choked on a piece of hamburger. Another successful save was by a couple of residents at Majestic Palms Condominiums, a local residential community. A man went into cardiac arrest and nearby residents were able to use an AED to save his life. We were told that the reason they had an AED on site is because of a CPR class they took with our district. And, just recently, while on a cruise, residents with Indian Creek saved the life of an 89-year-old man who was choking on food and then went unresponsive. The Indian Creek residents started CPR immediately and saved the man’s life. That man went on to celebrate his 90th birthday on the cruise and was back in the dining room the very next night.

These folks were able to take what they learned in one of our CPR classes and apply it to the emergency situation they were in. Because of their quick thinking and confidence in their abilities, these three people are alive and enjoying life today… and, we know there are many more!

There are a couple of communities in our district that have thought of a unique way to let their neighbors know who is CPR and AED trained. Communities, Indian Creek and Siesta Bay, give their residents red heart stickers to put in their home windows if they have taken one of our CPR classes. It’s a way of knowing there is help in and around the communities when and if needed.

“Most cardiac arrests events happen out of the hospital and in public places.  By learning and using CPR,  you can drastically increase the chances of allowing someone to have more time.  That means more time to hold their loved ones, more time to see their children and grandchildren grow, and more time to celebrate life.  Learn CPR and help someone have more time.” – Captain Brian Crisman, Iona McGregor Fire District.

“This CPR program saves lives and makes communities safer” – John Crowley, cardiac arrest survivor.

Always remember, CPR saves lives.

If you want to learn CPR or need to get re-certified or have a success story to share, please contact Megan Contreras, community relations and education coordinator, at [email protected].



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We were there to help.. but more is needed

BAY COUNTY, Fla. – It’s been 7 weeks since Hurricane Michael hit the Panhandle, and the area still needs help.

Although we’ve dropped out of the eye of the national media, lawmakers are still fighting for hurricane victims up in Washington.

“Every time I drive down the street to my house, I see new damage that I didn’t know was there before,” said Rep. Neal Dunn, (R) Panama City. Congressman Neal Dunn knows firsthand the devastation to the Panhandle. Although we’ve made progress, new damage continues to emerge everyday.

Dunn said he’s fighting for the Panhandle in Washington and that relief is on the way. “We think were going to get a disaster relief package out of the house next week,” said Dunn.

Senator Marco Rubio, also backing Northwest Florida and says funding for communities in the panhandle is a top priority.

“We need a disaster supplemental before the end of the year to help our communities in Northwest Florida that have been deeply impacted. We’re working on that with the state now to make sure we have the right programs and the right money. It’s one of our top priorities here to end the year, and hopefully we’ll get something done before the end of the calendar year,” said Rubio.

The disaster relief supplement will most likely be bundled, helping victims in areas impacted by Florence, Michael and even the California wildfires.

Dunn said having the disasters grouped together will help it pass, but also the timeliness of the bill. “It’s the timing. You want to get it to these people now more than ever because these people need help. They’re laying on their backs, they’re really, really badly hurt,” said Dunn.

As far as how much money, that’s yet to be discussed…but Dunn said any aid to the Panhandle is appreciated.

firefighters gross decon efforts

DECON… not just for victims anymore

The increased risks of several types of cancer are well recognized throughout the fire service. Carcinogens as byproducts of combustion enter firefighters’ skin through PPE penetration, cross transfer from PPE to the skin, inhalation in the environment and gear off-gassing. This has become even more hazardous with the increasing use of synthetic materials in home furnishings and buildings. The Iona McGregor District has taken a proactive approach to protecting our firefighters from the harmful effects of the job they do everyday…
firefighters gross decon efforts
Washing gear on the fireground with soap and water is an effective way to decontaminate gear. Research is currently ongoing about the effectiveness of on-scene washing compared to NFPA-compliant commercial extractors but, in the mean-time, gross decon on scene is an effective measure to use in conjunction with more advanced options.
firefighters using wipes to clean themselves
Wipes also appear to be an effective tool for decontamination and removal of PAHs from the neck area, but cannot replace a shower. A thorough shower and hand washing should be conducted as soon as possible after an incident.

The Iona McGregor Fire Department will continue to be on the forefront of these challenges. We will do everything we can to ensure your safety and the safety of our firefighters as well !

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Public Protection Classification Summary Report for Iona McGregor Fire Department

Public Protection Classification Summary Report for Iona McGregor Fire Department, prepared by Insurance Services Office, Inc., February 2014.  ISO collects and evaluates information from communities in the United States on their structure fire suppression capabilities. The data is analyzed using our Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS™) and then a Public Protection Classification (PPC™) number is assigned to the community. The surveys are conducted whenever it appears that there is a possibility of a classification change. As such, the PPC program provides important, up-to-date information about fire protection services throughout the country

Public Protection Classification Summary Report for Iona McGregor Fire Department