During this last week, the Virginia Fire Department was called for service 97 times. 12 of which were fire calls and 67 medical. The fire calls varied from multiple motor vehicle accidents, smoke detector activations, carbon monoxide incidents, a steam leak, and multiple structure fires. Of the medical calls, 21 were medical transports from Essentia Health Virginia to Duluth and Metro hospitals for further specialty care. The remaining 46 medical calls were 9-1-1 emergencies all over the East Range. These patients were transported to Essentia Health Virginia, Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing, Duluth hospitals and landing zones for air medical transport. This last week we performed 114 medical procedures, 120 and administered 95 medications. With more snow in our forecast, we would like to remind you of a few items of concern pertaining to where you pile your snow.
The dangers of such are not just on the sidewalks, roadways and lack of visibility at intersections. The less known issues of snow piling up should be discussed. I grew up hearing from neighbors that throw the snow next to your house to insulate from wind and cold. One thing they didn't mention is to avoid doing so around certain areas of the exterior of your home. Especially near any furnace or dryer exhaust systems. Those typically are less than four feet off the ground. This time of year, one aimless shovel load of snow can easily block the proper venting of those systems, resulting in house fires and/or carbon monoxide incidents (another reminder to check your detectors and replace batteries). Blocked exhaust systems are one of the first things we look for when walking around a structure at the scene of a carbon monoxide incident. Also, worth noting, we’re in the fourth, or for some of you, the fifth month of the heating season. Chimneys are dirty. It may be time to hire someone to professionally and safely inspect and clean the chimney or furnace. If you don’t have a chimney cap, ask them to install this as well. Leaves, sticks, and small animals can easily plug up your vertical exhaust systems, resulting in the same life-threatening issues. During these winter months do not attempt to go onto your roof top and complete these tasks, hire the professionals.
On another note, we’re often asked “when do I call 9-1-1 and when do I call non-emergency phone numbers?” As it pertains to all emergency services (Police, Fire/Ambulance), if you’re not sure, call 9-1-1. The non-emergent numbers are typically for information that you need. If you believe you need the presence of a Police Officer, Firefighter or Paramedic, whether life threatening or not, call 9-1-1. These services are here to best help the people of our region in the quickest way possible. At any time on any day, any one service in any surrounding community may be occupied on other emergencies. When that is the case, we all rely heavily on our surrounding communities/services for their response to assist. The most efficient way to ensure what you need is dispatched to wherever you need, is to call 9-1-1. A big thank you to all our surrounding communities and services for their continued assistance. We could not do it without you.