Halloween Safety Oct. 31 

By Amy R. Spurgeon-Hoffman

Ladera Times Reporter/Photographer

    Orange County Fire Authority stomped out a late breaking two-acre vegetation fire in the evening hours September 24 with its left foot (fast response) and (right foot) heavy fire fighting artillery in the hills off Via Montoya & Via Cerro Rebal – an area that is just south of the swanky San Juan Hills Golf Club, east of the Santa Ana 5 Freeway and northwest of San Juan Hills High School. 
    Thankfully the highly trained and very professional OCFA firefighters wearing those experienced boots knew exactly what to do.
    “We are coming into the season where the Santa Ana winds can play a larger factor in a fire,” said OCFA Captain PIO Larry Kurtz. “OCFA is asking people in their communities to stay vigilant right now. The faster OCFA firefighters learn of a fire, the faster we can respond.”
    OCFA hit the fire hard with 23 units – an indication Orange County’s premier safety agency anticipated the worst given the National Weather Service’s red flag fire warnings for Southern California that extend into the last week of September with periods of “critical fire weather conditions.”
    The National Weather Service warns of the impacts of this Red Flag Fire Weather Warning:
    Impacts...Any fires that start may exhibit extreme fire behavior and spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended.
    A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring, or will shortly. A combination of
strong winds, low relative humidity, and heat will contribute to extreme fire behavior.
    If you grew up in Southern California, specifically Orange County, you know the term “Santa Ana Winds” doesn’t mean get the kites out and take the kids to the beach.
    It means we know we are in for it. We know these fires are coming. So it’s imperative that everyone visit our OCFA website to learn how to be wildfire ready and ready for a fire anywhere:

Red Flag Fire Warning In

Effect For Orange County

by Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

Be the real hero this Halloween and spread the word of safety to others.
-- Carve safely! Carving pumpkins can be tons of fun for kids, but make sure that all carving activities are fully supervised by an adult.
-- Use flameless candles. They’re safe, inexpensive and just like the real thing—without the fire risk.
-- Ensure others can see your children. If possible, create costumes out of bright colors. But if you must go over to the Dark Side, place reflective strips or tape in strategic places on your child’s costume, much like equipping a bike with reflectors.
-- Ensure your child can see others. A mask can obstruct your child's peripheral vision, increasing the chance that they will trip or bump into objects.
-- Don’t let children under the age of 12 trick-or-treat alone. Enough said!
-- Set ground rules for older children. No one should leave the house without agreeing when to be back and what route to use. Provide them with a cell phone and a flashlight with fresh batteries and review basic safety rules, including staying with the group, walking only on the sidewalk, approaching only clearly lit homes, and never going inside a home or car for a treat.
-- Inspect treats before indulging. Discard torn packages, unsealed treats or anything that just doesn’t look right.
-- Make your house trick-or-treat friendly. Don’t be that one house on the block that everyone’s afraid of because the dog barks and lunges at people and the porch light is out. Before it gets dark, clean up the yard and the walkway and check to ensure the outside lights work. Place the pets in a safe room away from the front door.

For more info, click on Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna