Real Estate Show with Deputy Fire Marshal Samantha Metheny
Real Estate Show with Deputy Fire Marshal Samantha Metheny
Full Video Transcript Below
Alice Lema: [00:00:00] Southern Oregon, welcome back to the Real Estate Show. So glad you could join us on this holiday weekend. My name's Alice Lema. I'm a broker here in beautiful southern Oregon with John L. Scott Real Estate, and today we're gonna be interviewing Deputy Fire Marshall, Samantha Metheny to talk about holiday fire safety, right? We all hear on the news and from our friends and family when things go wrong and a lot of that, those accidents are preventable. So we're so excited to have Deputy Fire Marshall, Samantha Metheny coming on the show today.
She'll be joining us in just a minute and we're gonna talk about fire safety, accident safety what to do in emergency, and just some things to think about. Your house has probably got more stuff in it than normal. It probably has more people in it than normal. You're cooking a lot. You might be having some eggnog, you know, it just, it, it can be a recipe for distraction and possibly accidents or fires. So having Deputy Fire Marshal Samantha Metheny come on [00:01:00] the show and help us look at our homes and our cooking practices ,and all of that in our guest accommodation with some eye to preventing accidents. So, super excited. She's gonna be joining us in a quick minute.
Let's talk briefly about the stats. We're gonna do some national stuff today. I got this from a website called Calculated Risk, and they are one of my few liked reports and are nerdy that way, you know, check that website out. Calculated risk. So today, calculated risk, put out a couple of reports from the Mortgage Bankers Association and also the National Association of Realtors, and I thought they were noteworthy. So let's talk about it because guess what?
This week, lowest interest rates in three months. We have a three month low on mortgage interest rates. They're down to 6.3%, so yay for us. And how funny it is to be saying that that's low, but it is now. Also the Mortgage Banker's Association [00:02:00] said that mortgage applications increased this week by 0.9% probably cuz of the rate decreased .And then the National Association of Realtors put out a report saying existing home sales decreased to 4.9 million in November, 2022, which is down. But guess what? Existing home prices nationally are up 3.5% from a year ago. And this is what we keep saying. This is such a weird market. People are doing price reductions cuz we're off our highs.
But you know what? We're still selling property and the sellers still have a lot of equity. So the other noteworthy thing here, that's 129 consecutive months of year over year price increase to our housing market. Longest running streak ever. So don't touch that dial. We're gonna bring on Deputy Fire Marshall, Samantha Metheny, and talk about fire safety.
Well, welcome back everybody to the Real Estate Show. So glad you could join us again. Today we have deputy Fire [00:03:00] Marshall, Samantha Metheny who's joining us today. Thank you so much.
Samanatha Metheny: Thank you for having me.
Alice Lema: Well, deputy, it's so important that people as they're preparing for the holidays, have some reminders about fire safety and taking care of things in your home. So just wanted to ask you briefly, what are some of the common things that the fire department sees this time of year, this time of year?
Samanatha Metheny: So some of our main things that we will see are issues that will have to do with usually unattended cooking, right? Or just cooking fires. It's still one of our number one causes of home fire.
We're all doing it. We're cooking with heat, right? And we get easily distracted too when we have lots of family and, and distractions in the home. So, you know, setting timers and trying to stay in the kitchen when you're cooking and just paying attention to what you're doing are always good ideas, right this time of year.
Alice Lema: So are you saying that it's common for people to have something bubbling on the stove and then they walk away?
Samanatha Metheny: Yeah, it's simmering away. It's been in the oven. Or, [00:04:00] or, you know, cooking recipes that they're not entirely familiar with. More frying, sauteing, things like that. Those were are where we see like, you know, flash in the pan, right?
And that's where we wanna remember to, you know, put a lid on it and those sorts of things to, to snuff out those flames. And then just being mindful of what you're doing. Turning you know, the the temperature down if you don't need it up super high. And just like I said, setting, setting timers, staying present and then just if you have to leave, you know, not leaving food on the stove, you know, turn it off, revisit it when you need to come back.
Alice Lema: Now. Now see, that's something people don't think about. It's like you can turn it off.
Samanatha Metheny: Yeah. If it's, if it's not good timing and it's not, you know, the, you know you, you're getting distracted or, or plans changed, come back, you know, finish later, it's okay. Mm-hmm. , you know. Yeah. I mean some things like a Turkey where it's gonna cook for hours in the oven, that's a little bit different situation.
But you know, obviously, Ovens are designed to do that. And if you do have an oven fire for whatever reason, right, turn the power off, close the door, and, you know so that we're trying to reduce the amount of oxygen that gets in [00:05:00] there and, and allowing the flames to continue to grow.
Mm-hmm, how common
Alice Lema: is it for to have a fire actually in the oven versus on top of the stove?
Samanatha Metheny: Don't see that as often. That would mean it's a pretty, usually it's a, a very unclean oven and, or overcooked it, you know what I mean? And it, it goes to flame. But that's not something we see actually all that often. More often we'll see you know, rice or you know, something that was on the stove for a long period of time that someone just kind of forgot water boiling. And even the pan will catch on fire. It gets it hot enough that whatever was in it goes to flame, goes up into the cabinetry above it, and then it spreads easily that way into that attic space. There you go. Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Alice Lema: So you don't think about having cabinets over your stove as being dangerous. It probably is. If, if it goes too far.
Samanatha Metheny: I mean, it's normal building construction and there's usually a vent in place and, and those sorts of things. But you know, if, if it, if it goes too long, unattended Right. And we don't catch those flames early. It goes right up through there and, yeah. You're calling the fire department.
Alice Lema: Or your neighbors are , right? Someone? Yes, hopefully. [00:06:00] Yeah. So, what about safety with Christmas trees?
Samanatha Metheny: So Christmas trees if you're You know, choosing to, to, you know, get one, a cut tree, obviously you wanna make sure you're, you're watching the water and making sure you're, you're filling it up regularly, especially early on that they are pretty thirsty.
They're gonna drink quite a lot of water. So checking that pretty much daily is a good idea. Making sure that any of the electrical that you have with that Christmas tree is in good working order. If there's any, you know, frayed lines or anything Christmas lights. Wanna make sure you're replacing those with you know, new ones. Things to, other things to think about is to make sure that when you're, where are you placing that tree is someplace where it's at least, you know several feet away from any kind of a heat source like fireplaces, heat vents, candles, things like that that could cause it to kind of drive prematurely over time and also out of like doorway areas. Cause what you don't want. For there if there is a tree fire or some sort of potential like that, that it's blocking your exit or your [00:07:00] ability to get out.
Alice Lema: Okay. So that's a really important thing to think about and I bet it's kind of uncommon for people to look at their Christmas decorating, their holiday holiday decorating with that in mind. So when they're picking an area. You said fireplaces stay away from fireplaces. How many feet should they be away from?
Samanatha Metheny: Well it's kind of like with space heaters, you wanna give everything at least three feet or more. You know, a tree is gonna be Yeah. But that's a good round number to to start with.
Alice Lema: And for again, still kind of talking about inside the house, space heaters you brought up. Right. So we hear a lot of stories, you know, during the holidays about space heater, fire.
Samanatha Metheny: Right. And again things to think about and things that you know, I think some folks don't realize is that when you, you know, when you have a space heater, when it clicks on, clicks off, you know, it's, it's got a fan, it's generating heat, it has a pretty good draw on the electrical. So when people don't plug them in directly into an outlet, they plug into an extension cord or oh, power strip you can have a failure in there somewhere. [00:08:00] So they're best plugged directly into a wall outlet. Again, we like to say give space heater space. That's that three foot idea.
You know, sometimes they get tucked under you know, desks and things cuz it, you know, you're in a house that maybe is a little chilly or something and, you know, you think about what's underneath there, you know, your trash bin and, and other things that are, are flammable. So good to give it, you know, kind of get it out in the center of the room, but like not within the walking path and things like that so it doesn't get accidentally knocked over or moved off to the side. Sometimes, you know, you're walking by and it's slightly gets pushed off over and closer, closer to something else just over time. So they're great tools. Just gotta be careful.
Alice Lema: So those space heaters, a lot of us, I think have a false sense of security about because they're not so hot to the touch that we think about this. Possibility of something landing on it like a towel or wrapping paper is so something actually gets on one of those space heaters. Like how much time do you have before it [00:09:00] catches fire?
Samanatha Metheny: No, that is variable. We actually did some testing with that not that long ago in our division. And what we found is it really depends on the type of heater that you have.
Some of them have thermal shutoffs that if it starts to overheat it, It'll shut itself off, which is a great safety feature. There are others that have a much higher threshold that get to be a much hotter temperature. So things that would land on it could, you know, ignite relatively quickly compared to some of the others.
Like where one that we tried we actually tried to kind of like, almost like cover it with something. The, the thermal shutoff actually did its job and it wouldn't ignite the, the fabric that we were trying to set on it and light on fire. So there are some really great safety features in place.
And but there are some other ones that have been out and around for a while that don't have necessarily all those great safety features. And, and in that situation, you know, it can be minutes, you know? If it's the right situation. Or wrong situation in the space.
Alice Lema: So when you were doing your testing on the space here, I [00:10:00] think that's just so, well of course you would, cuz that's your, your business. But yeah. Let's, but I'd love to hear more about like what different kinds of things did you test?
Samanatha Metheny: Well, we just tried, like getting it too close to like a laundry hamper like a plastic rubber, a plastic bin with like clothing in it or and sheets, material, things like that. So we were putting like the sheets over one particular type of heater and it just, it, the heat just stayed insulated in there and that's when the auto shut off just, it went off. You could see it starting to kind of smoke a little, kind of get dark brown. And then off it, it shut itself off when we couldn't get it to ignite the the material. But when we switched to a different propane based indoor heater that had a much higher temperature on it and we were able to get ignition with that. So just different styles of heaters, you know, have different thresholds. Yeah.
Alice Lema: So would, would propane interior heater, would propane be even [00:11:00] recommended?
Samanatha Metheny: Well, there's, there's, there are very specific ones that are, that if it, it would clearly state intended for indoor use. There are others that say very clearly, you know, not intended for indoor use.
And you just have to really pay attention to the manufacturer's recommendations on the boxes. That's what we were looking at as interior use. And just trying to see what we could get to work for us. With the new, with the new you know, safety features that. In installed these days.
And some of them also have like shut off so that if you, if you tip the heater over, there's a little button that gets released and it shuts the power off. So it doesn't sit there face down and, and burn into the floor. So there's some other safety features that are in place.
Alice Lema: Again, something I hadn't thought of. If something does turn over on carpet, .
Samanatha Metheny: Mm-hmm. . Right? So our newer ones have those shutoffs, but not all of them do. So some of those older ones, we just have to be paying attention to, you know, what we have and where we're using it.
Alice Lema: So getting new new, if you're gonna use space heaters, getting new space heaters that are electric might, yeah.
Samanatha Metheny: I mean, [00:12:00] you can look at that and just check what features they are have and you know, and I don't, I don't wanna have to, people want people to have to go out and buy , brand new everything. You know, that may not be reasonable, but if they do use those older ones, that's where you definitely wanna make sure you have that space. That they're plugged directly into outlets right away from pets, away from windows and things like that, where you could get you know, curtains that blow and land on it, or near bedding and things like that. just keep 'em away from flammables.
Alice Lema: So what other residential situations do you commonly deal with during the holidays?
Samanatha Metheny: Well, some things to think about, especially this time of year when it gets so cold. And it's a fire that we will see periodically, a couple of 'em really when you remove, like if you have a wood burning fireplace, one, it's always a good idea to have that flu cleaned. Because that creasete buildup is what can catch on fire, right?
Then we have a fire in the chimney and it can spread easily into attic space. So if you're a wood burning, you know or have a wood burning fireplace, make sure you're getting that flu [00:13:00] cleaned with some regularity and just make sure it's in good working operation. And then the other thing is, is that when you're cleaning out your fireplace, make sure that when you remove those ashes, whether you think it's cold or not, that you put them into a metal container, not plastic. And then when you put them outside, keep those away from the house. What we've seen is people who thought maybe their, the ash was cold. It had been a day or two, they put it in a bucket or they just dumped it out. It was in a metal bucket maybe even for a few days, and then dumped it into the plastic trash bin next to their house.
And we've seen there be material warm enough in there that it ignited materials that were already inside the trash bin, really catch on fire goes into the house. So, Non-flammable containers away from the home. And you know, maybe even just spread it out into your garden or something, but or, or just soak it, get it wet, it makes a mess. But it's, that's the, the best way to know that it's completely out.
Alice Lema: Yeah. Cuz all of us have done that. And it never occurred to me that after days and days of being in a metal [00:14:00] bucket that there would be any live anything.
Samanatha Metheny: Yeah, there could still be enough heat in there that it potentially spark something that's, you know, more flammable in, in something like a trash bin.
Alice Lema: Yeah. And it's such a hard time of year. I mean, it's not never a good time of year to have an emergency. No. But it's particularly difficult during the holidays and this is why we're so glad that you could come on the show with us. We're talking to deputy Fire Marshall, Samantha Matheny. Did I say that right?
Samanatha Metheny: Yes, you did.
Alice Lema: Thank you. Okay so, and we're so grateful to have her on the show today. Just a reminder, this broadcast will be repeated tomorrow Sunday at 6:00 PM on this same station, K C M X. We're gonna have to take a quick break to say thank you to our sponsors, and then we'll be right back, talking to Deputy Fire Marshal Samantha Matheny don't touch that dial.
Well, hey, Southern Oregon, welcome back to the Real Estate Show. So happy to have you. Today [00:15:00] we're talking to deputy Fire Marshall, Samantha Matheny thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you. And we're, we're getting quite an earful about things that caused fires during the holidays.
Before the break we were talking kind of about the inside of people's homes. Did you have some other. Fire possibilities that you wanted to mention?
Samanatha Metheny: Well you know, as you know, a fire investigator, some of the other common fires that we've been seeing have been related to improperly discarded smoking materials. So one of the things that we'll see is you think you're putting your stuff, your cigarettes or whatever out in a, an ashtray that seems reasonable outside in the front porch. Say for instance, your planter box if it's wood or plastic, the planter box is full of basically just bark mulch and put enough of that in there, it can stay insulated enough that eventually can kind of, with the, the right situation more so in the summer than we would see this time of year. But it does happen. It stays [00:16:00] insulated long enough. It starts to kind of smolder around in that bark mulch and the wind picks up or something and it gets just enough of the right, you know, combination between, you know, heat and oxygen flow or airflow that it goes off into the flames and then we have a front porch fire or back porch fire.
And, and we see that fairly commonly. Like I said, more so in the summer, but we do see it wintertime smoking indoors, of course, making sure we're not, you know, we're, we're not smoking in bed. These things do happen, right? And, and that's where we actually have you know, pretty significant loss.
When we go into a house fire and we see something like that, you know, where there's evidence of cigarette burns and stuff in the bed already are on the couch. And so just, you know, things to be more, you know, careful with when we're smoking, you know, hopefully taking it outside, making sure we're using something metal, something sturdy wide based with sand or water. Those things, you know, do a pretty good job of. Snuffing out the heated material. And we'll just be a bit more safe that way.
Yeah. Wow. You would never, so that bark mulch is
Alice Lema: so flammable and [00:17:00] people gussy up the outside of their house right up to it with that stuff. Right. And then I, it never occurred to me, but if you're smoking and you put it out with your foot, you, it's it going into basically like what we use to start fires.
Samanatha Metheny: Sometimes, yeah. Some of that stuff. And again, like those bark fires, we go to a lot of those all summer long. Not again as much in the wintertime, but where it does happen as if we're in like a protected porch area and we're just putting them, you know, over and over again in that, that bark material. It is flammable material. Yeah.
Alice Lema: Boy, you never even think of that. This is so good to know. Right. well, and smoking is not as common as it used to be. No. It still happens enough that it sounds like you're keeping busy with that.
Samanatha Metheny: Yeah. We run a, a number of calls as relate, you know, related to that.
Alice Lema: And when you, and when you get an outside fire, it starts on a porch. That seems like that would have more air coming into it and then it would actually move the fire faster. Is that right?
Samanatha Metheny: Yeah. Right. Yeah. Cause it's got everything it needs. It's got the [00:18:00] fuel, the heat, and the oxygen, you know, to, to take off with, right?
Alice Lema: About people cooking outs? Side their holiday dinner under a porch.
Samanatha Metheny: Oh, like with a barbecue or something? Yeah. Again, that's kind of that concept of, you know, giving like space heater space, even barbecues, right. We wanna keep those away from the wood siding or the railing of your back porch area. That those fire, you know, the, the barbecues get quite hot right when you're, especially if you close the lid or opening it. And if you ever felt like the wall just behind it and you're only a, a foot away or so when you're getting, you know, heat on the siding, you're, you're too close. So you need to move your barbecue out.
Alice Lema: So can the heat from the barbecue actually ignite wood siding?
Samanatha Metheny: I mean, if it's too close yeah, it can. But it's gotta be pretty close. And but I mean, I've seen like a like the shades or blinds that are too close, or the curtains just inside the glass, because the glass, you know, it can can transfer through. And catch the, Blinds or something on fire.
Alice Lema: and a lot of people, I, I [00:19:00] can't tell you how many times I've done it myself. I won't do it now, but the barbecue is right up against the house. So you're out of the rain .
Samanatha Metheny: Right. Easy enough to do. Right. So, yeah, you just gotta be mindful of that or turn the, turn it around so that you are standing next to the house and the barbecue's out.
Alice Lema: Right. Yeah. What about those gazebos, you know, those. Like everybody has those with the drape thingies.
Samanatha Metheny: Yeah. I mean, you might wanna watch the drapes, but I have seen those barbecue canopies that are a bit, you know, they're tall enough that, and then they're just metal frames on the side so that you don't have the, you know, as much of the concern and you're staying dry.
Not a bad option. . Mm-hmm. . And usually you can test and you can, you know, look on the label to see that it's been UL listed or it has some sort of a fire resistance to it.
Alice Lema: Okay. Well so what other kinds of fires, or I guess it would be more of electrical, you know, there's a lot of load on homes electrically, right, during the winter.
Samanatha Metheny: Yeah. So another thing [00:20:00] that we have seen are like extension cords running out to you know, guest you know, guest RVs or trailers and things like that, that have, you know, like even if it's in a temporary situation If you notice things like the lights flickering, you're having breaker problems and they're tripping off you want to pay attention to that.
That's usually a sign that there's something being overdrawn, right? You may be like, Pulling too much power, running an extension cord out to a heater or something out in the garage, and it's just too much. And, and those things are signs that there's, you know, something wrong and to keep breaking, you know, flipping the breaker because it keeps tripping. You, you risk the potential of fire there.
Alice Lema: So really pay attention to that cuz a lot of us will just put it back on and, you know, plug in another TV and go on our merry way. And what you're saying is, To stop and find out why.
Samanatha Metheny: Yeah. If that's, if that's the only thing that's changed and you just plugged that in, or, you know, added another extension cord to whatever it is, now all of a sudden you're starting to get, you know, flickering lights and, and [00:21:00] breakers that are popping.
You may wanna rethink that and either move it to a different location or take it outta play. Cuz that is The system working. When the breakers trip, it's saying, ah, there's a problem here. You know, that's, it's doing its job. So putting it back on and keep it going, that's where we make the mistake.
Alice Lema: Do you during the, the winter kind of holiday season, how common is it to get calls for household accidents. Like, like do you get, well, you, you come for fires, but people also call you oh, when they get hurt. Are there any kind of preventable things you could do? We didn't. Yeah. This is just kind of another question that I just thought of, cuz we're sitting here talking about people being in their homes. Besides fire and fire safety, are there any other kind of common accidents during, during the holidays?
Samanatha Metheny: Well, I guess there's always a concern with slips, trips, and falls, right? More so probably for our, maybe our, our aging population. And sometimes the what can be the difference is we're just not [00:22:00] picking our feet up quite enough. We're on different medications that are affect us in ways that we're not, you know, recognizing. And so things that we can do to like make our homes a little bit more safe would be you know small area rugs and things like that that may be, you know, nice at the front door or in between rooms or whatever. But that can create a, a tripping hazard.
Having things like, you know, grab bars in the bathrooms and, and other things like that. Good lighting, having that available choosing not to cook and things like that if we've just recently taken medication or started a unit net medication, we're not familiar with how it's gonna affect us. Things that we can, you know, do to sort of minimize the risk.
Alice Lema: So when people hook up guest quarters with extension cords is the problem, the actual extension cord itself or is it that they're just not connecting? To get correctly, to like if somebody has an rv.
Samanatha Metheny: Okay. Yeah. So, so things that can, I mean, sometimes it can, it can work just [00:23:00] fine. Maybe that's a dedicated outlet in your garage and it's working just fine. Okay or where we have a lot already pulling off of that outlet or it's just not quite enough. But where we can also find issues is not just like the overdrawing, but the fact that the cord is now going out a door, you know what I mean? And the door is closed, or it's just under the threshold, and so it's constantly getting compressed or bent or stepped on. And so it's degrading over time. So that creates high resistance, friction on that cord you know, big bends and, and lots of loops and tight like if it's wound up really tight.
Again, those are friction points for the electrical cord. So that also heating potential. So just being mindful of how we're treating that. And then the cords can also get brittle, brittle over time, right? Like if it's been out there and exposed they age, you know?
Alice Lema: So I bet a lot of people don't even think about that, like compressing it through the window.
Samanatha Metheny: Right or underneath the door. You see people that do that. It's kind of like right there. And it's been like that for a bazillion years, and [00:24:00] all of a sudden we have a fire. You know, and we might wanna look right there, you know, just depends yeah. But that's, you know, and it's overused. It's not always, you know, happens right away.
It may take weeks, months, even years sometimes, but you know, that would be a weak point and a certain, you know, a potential for risk.
Alice Lema: Well, that's a very good suggestions. I bet a lot of people don't, don't even think of that. Are there any batteries or any fire dangers that have to do with just batteries?
Samanatha Metheny: Well, something we've had sort of You know, more recent experiences with have been with lithium ion batteries. There's been the cause of several fires actually fairly recently and throughout the summer. Very handy tools but have to be treated carefully and. Because the results when they do catch on fire are fairly impressive, hard to put out sometimes and or can have kind of a violent response depending on the nature of it.
So things that we wanna pay attention to are, you know, if we have a lithium ion battery that we're using the proper [00:25:00] charger with the, with the battery itself. That we're not, you know, that we're following the manufacturer's instructions for charging and storage. You know, if it only says keep it on for so long, you only keep it on for so long.
Don't try to overcharge or anything like that. Making sure that they're UL listed. Making, you know, some of the batteries that they sell, maybe reduced cost or aftermarket may not have passed all of the safety thresholds that the original company of whatever the battery, you know, if it was a, a scooter or whatever it was that, you know, did it. They sell those on the secondary market, so they may have some Flaws, right. That have, could lead to, you know, problems down the road. So, storing those batteries away from anything flammable, keeping the batteries at room temperature, not like putting them in a window sill in the summertime where they get very hot, or someplace where they could overheat. Those can cause problems as well.
Alice Lema: Oh, I did not know that. They're, they're temperature sensitive.
Samanatha Metheny: A bit. Yes. Can be. Okay. Yeah. So like not charging devices under, pillow or on in bed or on a couch, , [00:26:00] you know, but it happens.
Alice Lema: All the places we do. We're talking to deputy Fire Marshal Samantha Metheny from City of Medford Fire Department. Learning lots and lots about fire prevention during the holidays. We're gonna have to take a quick break. We're brought to you by Guy Giles Mutual mortgage. We're also thankfully brought to you by John L. Scott. Ashland, Medford, and our local Rogue Valley Association of Realtors. Will be right back.
Well, hey everybody. Welcome back to the Real Estate Show. I'm Alice Lema broker, John Scott here in beautiful Southern Oregon, and today we're talking to Deputy Fire Marshall, Samantha Metheny from City of Medford. Thanks so much for being on the show.
Samanatha Metheny: Thank you for having me again.
Alice Lema: Oh, just wealth of information we're gonna ask you to, to come on more often if that's okay. Yeah. But this is so important. The, the holiday times. The wintertime we're using our home and electricity differently. And right before the break we were talking about the [00:27:00] recent, more recent occurrence of lithium ion battery fires. Right. And not everybody, I mean, people have 'em, but they don't always know that's what they are. So how, how do people use those batteries?
Samanatha Metheny: So you'll find lithium ion batteries in say cell phones, laptops ,scooters, let's see vape pens for like portable batteries or you know just battery operated like drills and things like that. So, you know, that's sorts of equipment.
Alice Lema: Well, that's so common and we're all charging stuff on the couch under the pillow
Samanatha Metheny: Yeah. You know, and, and you know, for the most part people are manage it just fine. Like it's very, very safe. They put a lot of effort into making sure that they have the right chargers and they have a nice setup there. You can still have a failure, you know, if something gets damaged and and. If you, I've done a little bit of research on them recently and you know, there's like all these little fibers in there and if the, if the an, if the anode and the cathode and if they [00:28:00] touch, you know what I mean?
And if there's like a disruption in it, if it's compressed, if it's overheated, all these different things, it, it it's like a, a thermal runaway that happens and yeah, it's a very interesting study on lithium ion, and I'm not a, I'm not, you know, The authority on this by any means. I've just had to study it just a little bit to understand how that can happen when I'm investigating a fire.
But to see that you know, the repercussions of it and you know how much damage they can cause even with the best intentions, you know, we just have to be very careful with those types of materials. Very useful. But can, you know, be You know, you just gotta be careful with them and, and really follow the manufacturer's instructions on them as far as charging and, locations and all of that.
Alice Lema: How do you put a fire out that's started with a lithium ion battery?
Samanatha Metheny: Well, the fire department, we use lots of water , so, you know, but in a home, you know, it, it would be fire extinguishers if you have them. Right. And just keep those around. Know how to use 'em, you know, have them [00:29:00] handy. And, and also you may end up having to call the fire department anyway.
It just depends on the size of the battery, the location, what's, you know what I mean, what's around it, those sorts of things, so if you can't knock it down quickly with a fire extinguisher and, you know, it's always a good idea to call 9 1 1 and have us coming, you know, and then cancel us if you don't need us. Right. But it's better to, you know, plan that. We can always get canceled, right. But if you need us, you want us there now, ? Yeah. So to get us coming.
Alice Lema: One of you call 9 1 1 and one of you grab the fire extinguisher. That's right. Yeah. Double team it if you can. So fire extinguishers. A lot of us have 'em and don't know where they are or know how to use 'em. If somebody wants to check their fire extinguishers before they start cooking this weekend, How do, how do they do that? ?
Samanatha Metheny: Well, okay, so, I mean, I keep one underneath my kitchen sink. I find it really handy there. I keep one in the laundry room as well, and upstairs in my kids' bathroom. But extinguishers, right?
You wanna check the dial. It's got usually like a little charge not charged. And there's usually like a little window where it's shows charged. It's [00:30:00] usually like a little green section or the dial is straight up and down and it says it's in the charged. If it's been used at all and it says discharged, it's either. It obviously doesn't have like the, the enough material inside. You wanna have that either recharged, refilled, or buy a new one to use them, right? You're just gonna want to aim at the base of the fire, right? You pull the pin, usually there's a safety pin in place, so you can't accidentally discharge it, but you pull the pin, you aim at the base of the fire, you squeeze and you sweep your sweep the nozzle back and forth.
Trying to just layer that. You know that agent over the fire, so it kind of just settles down. Cuz what it does is it sort of suffocates and cools and suppresses the fire. So pull, aim, squeeze, sweep, that's your acronym. It's called pass. That's great. Pull, aim, squeeze squeeze.
Alice Lema: And that's for fire extinguishers. Extinguishers. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And how about will you check our smoke detectors?
Samanatha Metheny: Smoke detectors? We're big, big , [00:31:00] right? Well, we're big proponents of that, of course. You know that's your, your warning device in your home. You know, required to have on every level of the house outside the sleeping areas, and additionally inside the sleeping areas.
If it's an older house, of course the requirements are slightly different, but if you're selling a house, right, you know, it has to be on every level and every bedroom. And carbon monoxide as well. But testing that test button, you know, they recommend once a month. That would be great. Sometimes it's hard to reach in some of our, you know, more vaulted ceilings or higher ceilings. You know, at a very minimum we'd like to see those tested or batteries changed out when we fall, you know, when we do the fall back with the time change, if we spring forward, you know, at a minimum, you know, we're checking those at least twice a year and changing batteries if we can to make sure we have good working smoke alarm.
Alice Lema: And if you're gonna have a house full of guests and all this chaos and commotion and and going,
Samanatha Metheny: not a bad idea. Yeah. To have those things checked and ready to, you know, be working for us. Cuz really when we're sleeping at night and we're, you know, unconscious to the world, [00:32:00] basically hopefully getting a good night's rest, if there's something going on, that smoke detector is our warning to let us know that there's something going on. We need to get out.
Alice Lema: So with the few minutes we have left what would be our overall advice for people to have a safe, a fire safe holiday?
Samanatha Metheny: Oh my gosh. I guess just have some situational awareness. Pay attention to what's going on around you. Help those who can't help themselves if you are spending time with family or friends or visiting family members who may not be as physically capable and active as you. Maybe you check their smoke alarms for them if you're going to visit.
Alice Lema: Great idea.
Samanatha Metheny: You know, and maybe just pay it forward. Let's help those who can't help themselves and you know, we know what to do as adults, right? And checking our smoke detectors and in the kitchen and using ashtrays outside and metal or whatever, and doing all those things. But maybe we could pay it forward a little bit and help those who can't help themselves this year and check some smoke detectors for other folks.
Alice Lema: And if they have any questions does. The fire department have a website that people can go to.
Samanatha Metheny: Yes, you can. [00:33:00] Lemme grab my, it's the City of Medford.
MedfordFireDepartment.org. Sorry. We recently rebranded and have to remember our new, new information. So sorry. Medford fire department.org.
Alice Lema: So they just rebranded. So we'll go on there and we'll get a list of things to do and, and remind people. Right around your tree and your heater. Yeah.
Samanatha Metheny: Anything that has a heating element to it and Yeah. In your trees space. Yeah. Three feet around.
Alice Lema: And the space heaters, we've talked a lot about, stay in the kitchen if something's on the stove.
Samanatha Metheny: it's always the best. Unattended cooking fires are still, you know, an issue for this country.
Alice Lema: And if something happens, Grab your fire extinguisher that you already tested and know works. Right,
Samanatha Metheny: right. Or just, yeah, just, yeah, you're just looking at the dial. Cause you don't wanna accidentally, you know, discharge it. But yeah, Uhhuh, if you have it, great and if you don't, call 9 1 1, get us coming.
And if you end up knocking it out and it hasn't spread anywhere good, then you can cancel us. [00:34:00] But. You know, let get us rolling so we can at least get to you if you need us.
Alice Lema: Because you don't mind getting canceled. That was, you can get canceled. Yeah, you can get canceled. That's better than not calling or calling soon. Soon enough. Right. And it's, it's getting away from you. Well, thank you Deputy Fire Marshal, Samantha Metheny. Sorry, . It's all good. It's a beautiful name. We'll have you back on again. Everybody have a beautiful holiday. We'll see you Likewise. Happy holidays. Thank you. I know. Bye-Bye.
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