These things will slow firefighters down during a rescue, Boardman fire chief says

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Boardman Fire Chief Mark Pitzer said it's important to reduce clutter and make your address visible

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Having things is nice, but sometimes, having too many things isn’t a good thing. One instance where it isn’t good is in the event of an emergency, say a fire.

“How we navigate through a zero-visibility environment is working off of walls, and moving through, and feeling furniture to kind of orient us. When it’s cluttered like that, we’re completely disoriented,” Boardman Fire Chief Mark Pitzer said.

He said it makes the job extremely difficult for them. It’s also difficult for people and animals living in a cluttered home because their visibility is just has hindered as they try to get out.

Pitzer said fires already spread quickly, and they spread even faster if there are more things to catch on fire.

“Ingress and egress are very, very important so we recommend that you kind of try to keep your hallways and things of that nature — your egress out of the home — clear and free of obstructions,” Pitzer said.

He also said people can help out responders by making sure their address is visible, clear and easy to read. It’s also helpful if someone is able to wave them down when they get close by so they know exactly where to go.

“In the event of a fire, we tell people don’t go back inside,” Pitzer said. “Don’t go back inside to rescue a pet or your child. If you made it out, please, when we get there, give us that information rapidly so we know what we need to do. If you can get us in the right direction and point us where those people may be or where your child is, we will go in. That’s our first priority.”

Pitzer has a pet, which he said is treated like family, so he will make pets a priority to rescue, just like he would a human.

“You go back in and now you get overcome by smoke, whatever the case is. Now, we’re trying to get two people out,” Pitzer said.

While it might seem like common knowledge, it’s important for people to not park by fire hydrants. It slows the crews down and you might come back to see some damage on your car. That’s because first responders have to get the hose connected, even if that means going through a car window.

“It does happen throughout our area, the state and the country,” Pitzer said. “That hose is not flexible. It’s four inches around, sometimes, in most cases, five inches around. You put water through it, under pressure it doesn’t bend.”

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