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Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes. If you live where urban development meets wildlands, or on a remote hillside, in a valley, prairie, forest or brushland where flammable vegetation is abundant, your residence could be vulnerable to wildfires. Wildland fires are usually triggered by lightning or accidents.
Know Your Risk and What to Do Contact your local emergency management office to learn about evacuation routes and emergency plans. Learn about the history of wildfire in your area. Be aware of recent weather; a long period without rain increases the risk of wildfire. Get additional information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (www.fema.gov), the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) and the USDA’s U.S. Forest Service (www.nws.noaa.gov). For current warnings check www.nws.noaa.gov. Inquire about emergency plans and procedures at your child’s school and at your workplace. Make a family disaster plan that includes out-of-town contacts and locations to reunite if you become separated. Be sure everyone knows home, work and cell phone numbers, and how to call 9-1-1. Assemble a 3-day disaster supplies kit with food, water, medical supplies, battery-powered radio and NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, batteries, flashlights, and other items. For more information about assembling a disaster supplies kit, visit www.fema.gov/areyouready/. Gather important documents such as birth and marriage certificates, Social Security cards, passports, wills, deeds, and financial and insurance records. Store them in a fire and flood safe location or safe deposit box.
Before a Wildfire Mark the entrance to your property with address signs that are clearly visible from the road. Keep lawns trimmed, leaves raked, and the roof and rain gutters free from debris. Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from your residence. Store flammable materials, liquids, and solvents in metal containers outside your residence at least 30 feet away from structures and wooden fences. Create defensible space by thinning trees and brush within 30 feet around your residence. Beyond 30 feet, remove dead wood, debris, and low tree branches. Landscape your property with fire resistant plants and vegetation to prevent fire from spreading quickly. For example, hardwood trees are more fire-resistant than pine, eucalyptus, or fir trees. Make sure water sources, such as hydrants, ponds, swimming pools, and wells, are accessible to the fire department. Use fire resistant, protective roofing and materials like stone, brick, and metal to protect your residence. Avoid using wood materials. They offer the least fire protection. Cover all exterior vents, attics, and eaves with metal mesh screens no larger than 6 millimeters or 1/4 inch to prevent debris from collecting and to help keep sparks out. Install multi-pane windows, tempered safety glass, or fireproof shutters to protect large windows from radiant heat. Use fire-resistant draperies for added window protection. Have chimneys, wood stoves, and all home heating systems inspected and cleaned annually by a certified specialist.
Before a Wildfire (Continued) Insulate chimneys and place spark arresters on top. Install insulation between the chimney and the roof, attic, or other inflammable materials it might touch. The chimney should be at least 3 feet above the roof. Remove branches hanging above and around the house. Obtain a free copy of At Home in the Woods, a collection of fire mitigation practices currently underway in the wildland/urban interface, by visiting www.fema.gov.
Follow Local Burning Laws Before burning debris in a wooded area, make sure you notify local authorities and obtain a burning permit Use an approved incinerator with a safety lid or covering with holes no larger than 3/4 inch. Create at least a 10-foot clearing around the incinerator before burning debris. Have a fire extinguisher or garden hose on hand when burning debris.
During a Wildfire If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Take your disaster supplies kit and choose a route away from the fire hazard.
If you are sure you have time: Shut off gas at the meter. Only a qualified professional can safely turn the gas back on. Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals. Turn off propane tanks. Place combustible patio furniture inside. Connect garden hose to outside taps. Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above-ground fuel tanks. Wet the roof. Wet or remove shrubs within 15 feet of your residence. Gather fire tools such as a rake, axe, handsaw or chainsaw, bucket, and shovel. Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Leave the key in the ignition and the car doors unlocked. Close garage windows and doors, but leave them unlocked. Disconnect automatic garage door openers. Close fireplace screens. Close windows, vents, doors, blinds or noncombustible window coverings, and heavy drapes. Remove flammable drapes and curtains. Move flammable furniture into the center of the residence away from windows and sliding-glass doors. Close all interior doors and windows to prevent drafts. Place valuables that will not be damaged by water in a pool or pond. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of the fire and smoke.
The Recovery Process For individuals’ and families’ immediate needs contact the American Red Cross or other local voluntary agencies. If you have property damage, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. For information on helping children deal with disaster, visit www.fema.gov or get a copy of FEMA 478 Helping Children Cope with Disaster. To obtain other fact sheets and publications call the FEMA publications warehouse at 1-800-480-2520. You can also visit DHS’ www.ready.gov.
Sky lanterns (often known as floating, paper or Chinese lanterns) are made from thin paper stretched on a frame. A candle or other fuel source is held in a holder in the frame, and the burning fuel provides heat and lifts the lantern into the air. These lanterns are often used for weddings or memorials. However, they blow wherever the wind takes them and can cause fires if they land on something that is combustible. Maine law does not allow the use, sale or possession of sky lanterns in the state.
• Maine Statute Title 8, Chapter 9-A, Section 221-A(4): defines fireworks and includes “the type of balloon that requires fire underneath to propel it”. This includes sky lanterns.
*Note: the definition of fireworks is different from the definition of consumer fireworks, which allows certain types of fireworks to be bought, sold and used; but it doesn’t include sky lanterns.
• Maine Statute Title 8, Chapter 9-A, Section 222(1) states: “A person may not possess or have under that person’s control fireworks.” This includes sky lanterns.
• Maine Statute Title 8, Chapter 9-A, Section 223(1) states: “Except for the sale of consumer fireworks under section 223-A, a person may not sell, possess with the intent to sell or offer for sale fireworks.” This includes sky lanterns.
Please contact the Maine Office of State Fire Marshal at (207) 626-3870 if you have questions.
To promote and protect the health and safety of our community and first responders.
- Dedication: We are an organization built on the foundation of our predecessors, who encouraged a diverse team to challenge the status quo; always dedicated to providing a better service, while using each member’s knowledge and abilities to make the team better.
- Integrity: We are honest with our partners in public safety and our customers, in order to build trust, for, and within the organization; while pledging to uphold the Firefighter Code of Ethics in our firehouses and community. Do the Right Thing,
- Professionalism: We committed to ongoing professional development as an investment, and foundation, for the future; leading to: operational consistency, improved communication, strong leader/subordinate relationships, and a stronger relationship with our customers.
- Responsibility: We are serious about providing high level fire suppression and emergency medical services to our customers; delivered with consistency and innovation, to mitigate hazards in a consistently evolving community, and region.
- Cooperation: We work beside our brothers and sisters while training, educating, and responding, to gain an understanding of their needs, knowledge, and experience, in order to build a cohesive team, willing to go the extra mile, as a display of our dedication to service.
Vision and Goals
The Officers and Members of Buxton Fire-Rescue understand the enormity of their role in protecting our community, and work tirelessly to exceed expectations in order to keep our community safe.
A Vision of this future includes:
- A proactive retention and recruitment program building a healthy balance of volunteer and paid personnel, while maintaining a fiscally responsible budget, while members carry out the organizational mission.
- Strategic Goal: The department will utilize training and education as team building opportunities to build positive morale and strengthen company integrity.
- Strategic Goal: The department will investigate and implement, where allowed, innovative benefits for volunteers, above and beyond payment, for the service they provide to the town.
- Strategic Goal: The department, from the top down, will provide each member with professional development and guidance, through education, and individual goal setting, and mentorship.
- Strategic Goal: The department will develop and deliver an effective marketing program for the recruitment of new volunteers, in order to expand the membership to support our mission. This begins with educating the community on the role we play as protectors, as established through our Mission, Values and Visions as an organization.
- Establishment of an interactive education and prevention program, the department will be a player in making our community a safer place to live and work.
- Strategic Goal: The department will initiate a fire prevention program engaging the public in pre-incident planning, plans review, adoption of a fire protection ordinance(s), and annual fire inspections; all efforts to reduce fire loss and safety hazards, while reducing insurance ratings for individual home/business owners.
- Strategic Goal: The department will bring the public to the firehouse, or bring the firehouse to the public, with programs such as Community Paramedicine, free community CPR/AED Training, Fire and Life Safety Education, Community Cares Check In’s, and other low impact programs to build relationships with our customers and other community stakeholders.
- In a reactive profession, the department will remain vigilant in planning and preparedness for response to and mitigation of small and large scale emergencies/disasters:
- Strategic Goal: The department will be proactive in training our members to meet the current and future needs of an environment in constant change, to include new hazards such as: medical epidemics, terrorist attacks, and hazards that often go unseen.
- Strategic Goal: The department will continually raise the bar in the way we train, respond, protect our public, and most importantly protect our first responders. We will challenge the status quo every time, in order to raise the bar on the services we provide.
- As an organization of volunteers, part time, and full time employees we work together to provide a service that exceeds the expectations of our customer. In order to do this, we need to do what is right for the greater good, we must be selfless. This foundation is built by “Doing the Right Thing; Every Time”, and that is the expectation that Buxton Fire-Rescue must have of itself, Every Time.