March 2012 EFD Pulse

Safety Should Not Take A Vacation When You Travel

By Ryan Quinn, Paramedic/Firefighter

With spring break right around the corner, many families will take advantage of the opportunity to travel, visit family or just get out of town.

Fire safety plans begin at home with fire drills, meeting places and knowing when to call 9-1-1. However, do you have a plan when traveling? A little preparation can go a long way toward giving you peace of mind, knowing that you have taken some steps to keep you and your family safe.

When booking a hotel room, ask if the rooms have fire sprinklers. If you are considering a couple different hotels, you may want to consider one with a sprinkler system. In the event of a fire, a sprinkler system can suppress the fire, allowing for additional escape time.

Once in your hotel room, create an escape plan and have a meeting place. Just like at home, know the fastest way out of the building and the location of the closest fireexit. Remember: do not use an elevator in a fire emergency. Always take your ID and room key with you if you need to leave for an emergency. Finding a meeting spot can be a bit of a challenge, so try to make it somewhere obvious. Consider next to the sign for the hotel or near the front door to the lobby. Always be diligent when it comes to alarms. If the alarm sounds, leave. Even if it appears there are no problems, you could still be putting yourself and your family in harm’s way.

Getting sick on vacation is never any fun and often seems like it could ruin the trip. However, there are some preparations to take while you are healthy to make an unfortunate illness a little easier.

When packing for a trip, prepare a small first aid kit with some essential over-the-counter medicines such as antacids, antihistamines and ibuprofen. These medicines can treat most discomfort and take care of the most common ailments while traveling. Don’t forget about pediatric doses for the little ones. Consider talking to your doctor or pediatrician before a vacation, especially if traveling abroad. If your plans involve extensive travel, talk with your doctor about antinausea medication, just in case.

Knowing the location of the nearest pharmacy and hospital is also a good idea. Be aware of where you are and have your hotel’s address with you at all times. When it comes time to show your insurance card, make sure you have it with you and know what numbers to call to ensure coverage. This is especially important when traveling internationally. Consider contacting your insurance to see what is covered in other countries.

Take many pictures. Not only can you share the wonderful experiences with friends and co-workers, but this also gives authorities a recent picture of your child should he or she wander off and need help. This is a good practice any time you go out, even at home.

Finally, make copies of all of your travel documents and passports. Keep these copies in a separate location, hidden away with some emergency cash. Leave another copy of your travel documents with someone not on the trip as a resource while you are away. Should all of your luggage disappear, this will help put your vacation back together, or at least help you get home.

If you are traveling abroad, check for additional tips and the closest embassy or consulate, should you need any assistance.

Spring break should be a time to relax, warm up and spend time with friends and family. Taking a little extra time to prepare for less-than-ideal situations will allow you to enjoy your hard-earned vacation and relax that much more.

For more information, visit


A Word From The Chief

By Edina Fire Chief Marty Scheerer

Most everyone knows that when a fire alarm sounds it means to immediately get outside. But what happens after you evacuate? What do you do?

After evacuating a structure, call 9-1-1 from outside via cell phone or a neighbor’s phone. When the dispatcher answers, clearly state there is a fire, the address and whether everyone made it out safely. If people or pets are still inside, try to give the location of the occupants. Never re-enter a burning structure for any reason.

When the first responders arrive, give them any information such as the location of occupants or the fire. Fire officers will size up the structure before fighting the fire to create a safe, strategic attack plan.

When firefighters arrive, extinguishing the fire may not be their first priority. First priority is rescuing anyone stranded in the structure and protecting adjacent structures.

Once extinguishment begins, the Edina Fire Department follows a “two in, two out” standard, which is in compliance with rules set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Two firefighters will enter the structure. Two more firefighters will be stationed outside so they can assist or rescue the firefighters inside the structure.

Neighboring cities can be called for additional assistance during structural fires to aid in fire fighting. Firefighters work in short bursts of about 10 minutes because their access to oxygen is limited, the heat encountered is intense and the workload is extreme.

After a fire is out, the property owner can find information about what he or she needs to do next at the Edina Fire Department, 6250 Tracy Ave.

For more information, call the Edina Fire Department at 952-826-0330, or visit


Fire Marshal's Corner

By Edina Fire Marshal Tom Jenson

When it comes to emergencies, time is of the essence. Emergency vehicles need to get to the problem as quickly as they can. Parking in a fire lane can be the difference between life and death for others. Fire lanes are on both public and private properties and are designated with “No Parking — Fire Lane” signs.

A fire lane is described as a 20-foot-wide access road to the building, not just near the main entrances.

I often hear excuses such as “I’ll be quick” or “I’ll just be in and out in a couple of minutes.” Quick or not, parking in a fire lane is against the law. Minnesota State Fire Code states that a fire lane must be clear at all times.

Fire lanes provide first responders and emergency vehicles with access to a building. During a medical emergency, Edina Police dispatch two squad cars and an ambulance. In a cardiac event, there needs to be room for four vehicles, including a fire engine.

During a fire emergency, there may be four or more fire engines arriving on scene within the first 10 minutes. While a ladder truck is only about eight feet wide, the truck needs an 18-foot-wide clearance to allow for the use of its ladder.

Edina Police and Fire regularly monitor fire lanes. Motorists are subject to a minimum $24 citation and could face expensive towing charges.

Save yourself the trouble and cost of being towed. Stay clear of fire lanes.

For more information, contact the Edina Fire Department, 952-826-0330.


Police Department

4801 W. 50th Street
Edina, MN 55424
General: 952-826-1610
Emergency: 911

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

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