While enjoying summer fun, folks should still remain mindful of safety on land and water, warn Leon Springs Fire Department members.
Fire Capt. Steve Biediger said in addition to exercising caution at pools and other bodies of water, residents also need to be vigilant regarding grass fires in spite of recent heavy downpours.
“Because we’ve had so much rain, we can expect a lot of brush growth and grass,” he said. “Once all that dries out, we’re in for some high-fire danger dates. Anyone who burns is going to have to be careful not to let those fires spread.”
Many wildfires are sparked by thunderstorms, he added.
“When we get a lightning storm in the summer in the hot weather, that’s when those storms are the most dangerous,” Biediger said.
LSFD consists of both volunteers and full-time firefighters.
“As the Fair Oaks Ranch City Council’s liaison to the Leon Springs Fire Department, I see firsthand the services LSFD provides every day to our community,” said Fair Oaks Councilwoman Laura Koerner, whose husband, Michael, is a department volunteer.
“In addition to fire and emergency medical services, they regularly support community-outreach efforts by providing demonstrations at the local elementary schools and Fair Oaks Ranch National Night Out events, to name a few,” she added. “I truly appreciate all that our firefighters do as they respond to emergencies in our community and reach out to residents to educate and inform.”
LSFD’s involvement with the public, from CPR training to visiting campuses, helps create a hub, which goes beyond basic fire safety, neighbors said.
“I love how they gather our community together to celebrate our military,” said Teal Harris of Fair Oaks Ranch. “They also keep us up-to-date on weather and traffic. I have their Facebook page set to inform me first whenever they post anything. They really go above and beyond.”
The page can be found at www.facebook.com/Leon-Springs-Fire-Department-130695926981444/.
Chief Robert Hardenstine said summer holidays and the inclination to set off fireworks before, during and after the Fourth of July may result in long nights for his crew.
He said spent explosives should be soaked in water and placed in metal trash cans.
“One firecracker can start a brush fire or grass fire,” Hardenstine noted. “Some of the open areas with big lots off Boerne Stage Road are always a big worry for us.”
Firefighters said those who wish to torch brush when a burn ban isn’t in place should check updated notices on the department’s website at http://leonspringsvfd.org/.
The site also announces burn-ban alerts.
As well, LSFD first responders are also educating residents and visitors about drowning dangers during the heavy swimming and boating season, since those make up the bulk of the department’s medical calls.
When in a boat, the law requires all occupants to continuously wear an approved Type III life jacket that properly fits, Biediger said. Even in pools, children should don a Coast Guard certified floatation device.
“Drowning doesn’t look like drowning,” Biediger said. “People have this image in their head about someone waving their arms and screaming for help. What it looks like is someone trying to tread water with a blank stare on their face or no emotion because they’re terrified.”
“When someone drowns, there’s often people within 15 feet away that have no idea what’s happening,” he added. “Small children or any nonswimmers in a pool (need) constant supervision. You can’t sit in your lawn chair looking at your phone and not watch them. You may think you’re listening, but drowning is silent.”
Hardenstine also reminded motorists to avoid driving through low-water crossings during heavy rains.