December 13, 2012 | Volume 117, Issue No. 50

Senior groups hear about fire safety

Fire safety was the topic at the meeting of the Carlton County TRIAD on Wednesday, December 5, at the Fond du Lac Tribal Center in Cloquet. The TRIAD group was hosted by the Fond du Lac Elder Concerns group.

Ken Klatt, Division Chief for the Cloquet Fire District, told the group that for every minute a fire burns, it doubles in size.

“During the holidays, when you have visitors, make sure that they know where the meeting spot is outside,” said Klatt. “If a fire starts, get out of the house.”

He added that an older house doesn’t burn as fast.

“New houses are disposable, they are designed to kill firefighters,” said Klatt. “If you have important keepsakes, buy a fireproof safe. When we come, we will ask you what we should focus on saving, such as guns in a safe.”

The Cloquet Fire District provides a high level of ambulance service, as well as firefighters and equipment to fight fires.

“Our paramedics have to attend school for two years,” said Klatt. “When you call 911, a first responder comes out. That could be someone that lives in your neighborhood that can get there in three to five minutes. The first responders provide the initial care. The paramedics give the same treatment that the person would receive in an emergency room except lab and x-rays.”

The ambulance service in the remainder of the county provides basic service, such as in Moose Lake and Cromwell, and Emergency Medical Technicians provide the care. They are not as highly trained as paramedics.

Senior citizens have to be careful when walking on snow and ice.

“Broken hips are very common in older people,” said Klatt. “After someone breaks a hip, the mortality rate increases tenfold. Those people die within five years. That’s the statistics. We do not know why.”

Klatt informed the group that hallways need to be kept clear in a home.

“If there is an emergency at a house, we will need to get an ambulance cot down the hallway,” he said. “It is difficult if there are things in the hallway.”

Klatt also spoke about keeping smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors up to date.

There are two types of smoke detectors, those with photo electric eyes and radiation detectors.

The photo electric eye detectors can see a smoke particle going by, and smoke particles trigger radiation-type detectors.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed 10 feet from the sleeping area and the batteries checked regularly.

“Anything that burns gives off carbon monoxide,” said Klatt. “There is a program where free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are given out. When purchasing a new one look for 10-year smoke detectors.”

Klatt warned people about the danger of having cans of gas or 20-pound propane cylinders.

“If a 20-pound propane cylinder explodes, it is very dangerous,” he said.

Maintaining your house number by the road or on the homes is very important so that the fire department can find an address when responding to a call.

“A GPS is not always correct,” said Klatt. “They are only as good as the mapping system. They are often not good in rural areas.”

One of the TRIAD members told Klatt about the Yellow Dot program, where a yellow dot on the window of a door into the home or on a car window indicates that information for emergency responders is inside.

Klatt compared it to the Vial of Life, a program some time ago where information for emergency responders was contained in a vial in the freezer of the home.

“There was also the Tot Finder Program,” he said. “There would be a picture of a firefighter that could be placed on the window of a child’s bedroom to show the firefighters where children were sleeping. Child molesters used that signal, too. The program had to be discontinued.”

Klatt said that he is available to provide demonstrations and to speak to any group.

Deputy Chief Terry Hill of the Cloquet Police Department distributed information about counterfeit $20 bills that had been passed in Cloquet recently.

He said that $300 had been passed at L & M Fleet Supply in Cloquet, and more were passed at the Little Store.

They looked like ordinary $20 bills,” he said. “I would have taken them. The Duluth Police Department stopped the suspect and has him in custody but there still might be some of the bills in circulation. They all have the same serial number, IB79466761E.”

People are asked to contact the local police department if one of the suspicious bills is found.

The TRIAD members and members of the Elder Concerns group were asked to be the eyes and ears for law enforcement.

“If you see something not right, call 911,” said Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake. “We rely on you folks.”

A pancake breakfast as a fundraiser for TRIAD’s programs has been set for Friday, January 11, at the Barnum Senior Center from 8:30-10 a.m. The TRIAD will meet at 10 a.m. The breakfast is sponsored by Lighthouse Assisted Living.

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