Theodore Dawes


Chief’s Tailboard Talk for May 2024

Greetings to all in the Theodore Dawes communities as we exit April with a few showers we look forward to some May flowers. This time of year, we are blessed with some beautiful days and outstanding weather, but please keep in mind that a pretty day is not necessarily a good burning day. There are several factors that can ruin a pretty day and a big one is the wind. Just recently we assisted a neighboring department with a structure fire that was created by an unattended trash fire that was wind driven to a manufactured home. Fortunately, the
home was vacant, and no one was inside. Also, not too long ago our department battled a residential fire that had breached the roof, and I watched the wind push that fire across the attic in a matter of minutes with firefighters trying their best to stop it. Our fire
district is in the County and there are no burn ordinances enforced by the County as opposed to the “no burn” ordinance enacted within the Mobile City Limits. However, there is an annual Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) burn ban that begins every May 1 st and continues to October 31st . The ADEM ban is automatic for the County every year regardless of weather conditions. ADEM can fine
you for burning and they do not need to see active fire to do so. Remnants of a fire are all that is necessary to get slapped with a fine on a complaint. Complaints can be filed anonymously online with ADEM, and it may take some time, but they will pay you a visit.

As our seasons change, don’t let your guard down in the house either. As our days begin to heat up, we all will be depending on those A/C units to keep us cooled down. If you are using window units, be sure they are plugged into properly sized outlets. If you are using extension cords, make sure they are big enough to carry the load of electricity those window units need. Most importantly, please never put those extension cords under anything, rugs, furniture legs, or even piles of dirty clothes. Often what happens is, something heavy will unknowingly get placed on that hidden extension cord, that heavy item creates a pinch point in the extension cord which will cause it to heat up over time. Eventually it will get hot enough at that pinch point to cause the material hiding the cord to ignite, usually when no one is around to discover it, and the next thing you know we have a room and contents on fire that will quickly spread to the entire
house if unchecked. Another thing we see happen this time of year involves mowing equipment, particularly gasoline and storage of. Please never store your lawn mower gasoline inside your home, especially your utility rooms, even if that room happens to be out at the carport. Usually what do we find in our utility room? Our water heater, which might be heated with natural gas. Many water heaters today no longer use a pilot light, but just as many still do and regardless of that, at some point the heater is going to ignite its burner to operate. What happens when gasoline is stored in proximity or the same enclosed room? Those gasoline fumes will eventually migrate around that heater and when the heater ignites it can also set off the gasoline fumes and create a structure fire.

We live in a crazy world where everything around has the potential to hurt us. Make sure you do the right things to be safe at home. Thank you for your support of the Theodore Dawes Fire Rescue Department, it is our honor to provide emergency services to our communities.

Chief Byrd