Fire safety should be a top priority for everyone

Monroe County Deputy Fire Chief RL Colina joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the county.

A number of boat fires occurred recently in the Keys.

Colina said, “The main thing is just always remember, just like a like any other vehicle, we’ve got to make sure we do our maintenance on it. We’ve got to make sure we have the checks and for some boats that are left on lifts or stolen, make sure that we go out there and check those things, check where we had the battery chargers going in there. Let’s not put it off for tomorrow, let’s get those items repaired.”

The fires in Maui are another reminder for the need for fire safety.

Colina said, “That is such a tragic and unfortunate event that happened there. They’re associating some of the high winds that were occurring with downed power lines, meeting vegetation that was dry. We just always have to be vigilant of what’s going on, and what’s surrounding us. We talked about areas like Big Pine, where we have growth of vegetation. The Department of Forestry does an amazing job of ensuring that, we have these controlled burns and these areas that higher index areas where residential houses are, that those areas are clear, but, as a resident, we can do a lot for ourselves. We can make sure that the brush is away from the house, we can make sure that any dead trees are removed.”

October is Fire Safety Month.

Colina said, “We specialize in one week and this year’s topic is fire safety in the kitchen. We had a small kitchen fire in Big Pine in one of our restaurants. The crews were able to get in there quickly after the restaurant had actually closed, get in there and suppress the fire and reduce any damage that could have been occurred if this happened at two or three in the morning. It’s one of those things, we just want to make sure there’s always good housekeeping, whether it’s a commercial structure that gets inspected or, even our residential houses, when we’re in there, make sure we have the grease stored away from the stove top area, make sure they’re in secured areas. General housekeeping does a lot because the majority of the fires that we see, they do they do tend to start in the kitchen between electrical malfunction or cooking type fires.”

We are still in hurricane season and it’s critical to be prepared.

Colina said, “Our emergency operations center and our management team, they do an amazing job for the county, for the residents, the visitors, and even for operations within Monroe County Fire Rescue to keep us abreast of what’s coming up and get the planning portion going. Right now, all the pre-work that has been done throughout the year, that’s where it pays off for us at this point. We always stand at a moment’s notice ready to respond to any emergency, but we have to take it up a notch when we start talking about high index for impacts from a hurricane. We also go through additional steps within Monroe County Fire Rescue to ensure that we also have the proper equipment, additional equipment, and the resources, just in case we’re impacted.”

Alert Monroe is another way to stay informed.

Colina said, “Those alerts that those are already are signed up for, you’ve noticed we’ve had several alerts go out several times. What a product. It’s something that it’s up to the minute. It works extremely well and extremely informative. It’s for those times where you may not be around your television or have the radio on and you’ll still get an alert from your mobile device.”

There are also safety reminders around back to school season.

Colina said, “We get so used to that small period where we don’t have the school buses, and we don’t have the school zones, but they’re in full effect right now. We just want to make sure that everybody is driving safely. Be aware that children, they’re on a different level.  They’re getting on school buses, they’re walking to their houses, they may not be paying attention exactly to what direction they actually drift to. So just keep a good look out there for the youth that’s out within the county, and be very, very, very vigilant of what the school buses are doing. Mind the red lights and the flashing lights. It’s not a race track. We’re not trying to get around them as quickly as possible. Respect the fact that they’re traveling with the youth of this county in there. Let’s all put our hand in there in protecting them.”

Mike Stapleford of KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM noted, “Your personnel are always on alert, keeping us safe and ready to spring into action next time something does occur. So I just wanted to thank you and your entire department for your dedication.”

Colina said, “It’s much appreciated. I’ll tell you, the men and women that serve these fire houses up and down Monroe County, they are the ones. My job here is to ensure that I support and provide them the resources to get out there and do their job. But day in day and day out, night or day, they’re the ones on the ground. They’re the boots on the ground for us, protecting our community.”

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