The primary responsibility of Fire Suppression is saving lives and protecting property of the people of Carpentersville and the Carpentersville and Countryside Fire Protection District.
Steps Taken in a Fire
The fire engine typically arrives at the scene of a fire to lead out hose lines that direct water at the seat of the fire. Engines are also used to pump water in ladder trucks for large fires.
The crew of the tower ladder is responsible for searching a structure for any remaining occupants, as well as providing ventilation to help the attack crew entering the structure. This company also shuts off the electric and natural gas.
As stated, a very important job is ventilation. This is done by breaking windows, doors, and sawing through the roof.
Reasons for Our Procedures
It is often misunderstood by the public what purpose is served by taking these actions; ventilation is extremely important in the successful extinguishment of a fire. As fire burns fuel, it releases a variety of toxic gases that remain aloft in ceiling or attic spaces and open areas of the structure. These gases are incompletely burned, but may be re-ignited and present a dangerous and explosive condition when oxygen is re-introduced to the space, which they occupy.
When these gases do explode, the phenomenon is referred to as a “Backdraft.” Ventilation allows the evacuation of these gases and the accompanying smoke, lessening the danger of a potential explosion and allowing the firefighter to see and complete the primary goal of search and rescue.
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus
The use of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) is a mandatory policy of the department for all internal firefighting procedures. The SCBA is a vital piece of equipment, which allows the firefighter to operate in the presence of toxic-filled environments. The SCBAs are filled with compressed air and will last for 20 to 30 minutes before a refill is required.
Thunderstorms affect relatively small areas when compared to storms such as hurricanes and tornadoes. A typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts an average of 30 minutes. Approximately 1,800 thunderstorms are occurring at any moment around the world, with 50 to 100 discharges per second from all of these storms.
The National Weather Service considers a thunderstorm severe if it produces hail at least 3/4 inch in diameter, winds 58 miles per hour or higher, or tornadoes. Thunderstorms usually occur in the late spring and summer months and during the afternoon and evening hours, but can occur year-round and at all hours. The average number of thunderstorm days in Illinois is 30 to 50 per year.
Other Weather Events Accompanied by Thunderstorms
Despite their relatively small size, all thunderstorms are dangerous. Thunderstorms can lead to other problems such as flash flooding, strong winds, and hail. Hail is formed by strong rising currents of air within a storm, called updrafts, which carry water droplets to a height where freezing occurs.
The ice particles grow in size, finally becoming too heavy to be supported by the updraft and fall to the ground. Large hailstones fall at speeds faster than 100 miles per hour. Thunderstorms also produce downbursts or "microbursts."
A downburst is a small area of rapidly descending air beneath a thunderstorm. Downbursts can cause damaging winds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
One of the most dangerous and well-known effects of a thunderstorm is lightning. Lightning occurs with all thunderstorms. A cumulonimbus cloud or thunderhead generates positive and negative charges. Lightning is the result of a sudden discharge of the electrical potential.
Temperatures reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (hotter than the surface of the sun) in a split second and are accompanied by the bright flash of light. This streak of powerful electrical charge and intense heat can produce electrocute on contact, vaporize anything in its path, rip apart trees, set fires, and cause electrical failures.
Effects on Power Systems
About $100 million in annual losses result from forest and building fires caused by lighting. Power systems are especially vulnerable to power surges, resulting in equipment failure and especially the disruption of delicate equipment. Lighting may also strike airplanes and damage onboard computers. It can damage plugged in home appliances as well.
Preventing Lightning Deaths
Lighting is responsible for approximately 150 to 200 deaths per year. Most of these are single events and result in direct hits. Over two-thirds of all lightning deaths happen in the afternoon. 20% occur between 6 p.m. and midnight. Your chances of being struck by lightning are about 1 in 600,000 but could be reduced by following some basic safety rules.
What to Listen for
- A severe thunderstorm watch tells you when and where the severe thunderstorms are most likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to know when warnings are issued. Watches are intended to heighten public awareness and should not be confused with warnings.
- A severe thunderstorm warning is issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
When Thunderstorms Approach
- If you hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
- Move to a sturdy building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees or in convertible automobiles.
- Get out of boats and away from water.
- Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information. Avoid using the phone or any electrical appliances.
- Do not take a bath or shower.
- Turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressors.
If Caught Outside & No Shelter Is Nearby
- Find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles.
- If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.
- If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible, and minimize your contact with the ground.
One of the most furious and devastating quirks of nature is a tornado. Tornadoes are created by thunderstorms that develop in warm, moist air in advance of eastward-moving cold fronts. These thunderstorms often produce large hail, strong winds, and tornadoes.
A violent tornado can generate winds with speeds greater than 205 miles per hour and their duration can exceed 1 hour. In Illinois, peak tornado occurrence is in April through June. Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 and 9 p.m, but have been known to occur at all hours of the day or night.
Outdoor Warning Siren System
The Village of Carpentersville has taken measures to help protect its citizens by installing an Outdoor Warning Siren System to provide early warning of impending severe weather conditions. This system is comprised of four sirens located strategically throughout the city. These sirens produce 127 decibels and rotate 360 degrees.
The sirens emit 2 different tones. A steady tone indicates a weather alert and an intermittent tone indicates an attack alert (in times of war). The weather alert will be activated if a funnel cloud or tornado has been sighted, or confirmed by a local law enforcement official or a trained weather spotter, within 5 miles of Carpentersville and is headed in our direction.
The Village of Carpentersville tests the system on the first Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. as required by State of Illinois Guidelines.
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service tracks all weather systems with sophisticated radar and are usually able to give adequate warning of violent weather conditions.
A “ tornado watch” means conditions are right for a tornado to develop. When a tornado watch is issued, listen to broadcast advisories and be ready to take cover. It is a good idea to have a battery-powered light available and have family members within earshot. You may wish to move vehicles into the garage or carport and move yard furniture inside.
A “tornado warning” means that a tornado has actually been sighted. In the event of a tornado warning, you should immediately take shelter inside a structure. The majority of injuries and deaths resulting from tornadoes are caused by flying debris.
Each year, many people are killed or seriously injured by tornados despite advance warning. Some did not hear the warning while others received the warning but did not believe a tornado would actually affect them.
What to Do
After you have received the warning or observed threatening weather conditions, you must make the decision to seek shelter before the storm arrives. For further protection, move to a basement if available. Get underneath a heavy table or workbench if possible. If you have no basement, take cover in small, windowless interior rooms on the lowest level, such as closets or bathrooms.
If you’re in an office building or school, protect yourself in an interior hallway or a lower floor and stay away from windows. Avoid auditoriums or gymnasiums or other structures with wide, free-span roofs. If you are outside and shelter is not available, lay down in a ditch, ravine or culvert. If you are in your vehicle, do not try to outrun the tornado: instead, leave it immediately.
Most importantly, plan ahead! Learn the safest places to seek shelter at home, in school, or in the workplace, and have a plan in place before a tornado strikes.