Friday, April 12, 2024

Southlake Fire Department: How Pre-planning Takes Emergency Preparedness to New Levels

During the September 20 City Council meeting, the Southlake Fire Department, along with City Response Personnel and Mutual Aid Response, were recognized for their recent actions and pre-planning efforts regarding the DalDen Corporation fire.

On August 17, crews responded to a fire incident at 4285 T.W. King Road. The DalDen Corporation is a manufacturing company for hazmat chemical filling and packaging.

Due to the severity of the fire and the presence of chemicals, a total of four alarms were requested. Other resources in use that day include:

  • Northeast Fire Department Association (NEFDA) HAZMAT and Rescue companies.
  • Emergency Management for logistical support.
  • Public Works for assistance with the mitigation of HAZMAT.
  • Police for assistance with traffic control, evacuations, and scene security.

 

Approximately 75 fire personnel arrived at the scene to combat the fire.

“Thanks to the pre-planning process and working with different departments and agencies, the fire was under control within 90 minutes,” Southlake Fire Chief Mike Starr said during the City Council presentation.

The pre-planning process played a significant role in containing the fire at DalDen Corporation. Before firefighters began putting out the fire, crews identified onsite chemicals and investigated how they would respond to water to avoid any reactions. Crews were also able to bring in equipment from Public Works to build dirt damns and stop the flow of hazardous run-off into creeks.

By implementing these procedures, the City and all partners can take precautionary measures and respond to emergencies effectively and efficiently.

“We enhance our response by our mutual aid part of the NEFDA group,” said Chief Starr, “Most of the cities are part of our NEFDA resources, and we trained with them constantly to make sure that we understand their capabilities; they understand our capabilities, and we had those specialty resources.”

“We had everybody from Public Works to PD to the building department,” Chief Starr said. “Our City team really steps up.”

To learn more about the City of Southlake’s Elements for Effective Fire Response, please watch the City Council presentation online.

Pressure Regulating Valve Antenna Update

Top Row:  River Oaks Dr and Durham Elementary; Center: Southridge Lakes; Bottom Row:  Dove/Shady Oaks and Shady Oaks/Highland

Top Row: Fm 1709/River Oaks Dr (left), Durham Elementary (right); Center: Southridge Lakes; Bottom Row: Dove/Shady Oaks (left), Shady Oaks/Highland (right)

In late 2014, new Pressure Regulating Valves (PRVs)  were installed at five (5) locations around the City as part of the Southlake 2030 Water Master Plan.

This Tier 1 Southlake 2030 project aims to improve City water flow during firefighting emergencies by automatically detecting the changes in pressure between the high pressure and low pressure planes and electronically adjust the water flow to supplement the availability of water during a critical need situation.

Over the last few months, the Public Works Department has worked to complete this project and install five antennas at the PRV locations. The antennas allow for City staff to remotely monitor the PRVs  and adjust water flow needs in the event of an emergency.

After several months of working with contractors to design and build antennas that fit into the Southlake area, the antennas are now installed at their designated locations (see image). The final phase of this project is to connect the antenna to the City’s monitoring (SCADA) system.

For questions about this project, please contact Public Works engineer, Alex Ayala at 817-748-8274.

Southlake Fire Department Receives Highest Fire Protection Rating

The Fire Department has received official notice from the Texas Department of Insurance and the State Fire Marshal’s Office that Southlake’s Public Protection Classification rating would be lowered from a Class 4 to a Class 1 following a comprehensive audit and evaluation. state fire marshal logo

The new rating, effective September 1, 2014, could mean savings on fire insurance premiums of 11% for Southlake residents and 13%  for business owners.

“We are very proud of our Class 1 rating and it could not have been accomplished without the addition of the North DPS Facility and the improvements made by Public Works to our water system,” notes Fire Chief Mike Starr. According to Mike, Peach, P.E. Consulting Services Inc., Southlake received the highest score of 97.53 since the rating system was put into place in 1906.

Insurance Services Office (ISO), which collects information about municipal fire protection efforts in communities throughout the United States, supplies statistical, actuarial and underwriting information to insurance companies, fire departments, insurance regulators and others. ISO uses a rating system of 1 to 10, with Class 1 being the highest fire protection rating.

The rating determination are based primarily on three weighted areas:

1. The community’s emergency communications capabilities, including 911 telephone systems, adequacy of telephone lines, operator supervision and staffing, and dispatching systems. (10 percent)

2. The quality of the fire department, including adequacy of equipment, sufficiency of staffing, level of training and the geographic distribution of fire stations. (50 percent)

3. The evaluation of the water supply, which includes the condition and maintenance of fire hydrants; existence of alternative water sources; and the amount, volume and pressure of available water compared with the amount needed to suppress fires. (40 percent).

“Congratulations to the work teams who participated in this project,” said Chief Starr. “This is a great achievement for City employees and is a great benefit for City residents and businesses.”

DPS North

DPS North Facility, 100 North Dove Road

 

A Message about Fire Safety from Chief Michael Starr

Southlake Fire Chief Michael Starr

Southlake Fire Chief Michael Starr

When you are a firefighter, being there when people need you is just part of the job.  But in this day and age it means more than just fighting the fires and ensuring the safety of the people who live in just one city.  It means being there when other Cities are in need as well.

The recent fire in Trophy Club is a great example.  Right now there is an elevated fire danger in the North Texas area.  That means conditions are ripe for brush fires which could cause a lot of damage to land and possibly even people’s homes.  Southlake Firefighters, along with more than dozen other agencies, were in Trophy Club all night long helping put that fire out as part of a Mutual Aid agreement with that town and several others.

Mutual aid is critical to our success in keeping you and your family safe.  When fires burn beyond a certain stage, it becomes an all-hands on deck situation, and it doesn’t really matter what the patch on side of your arm says.  There is a cost to mutual aid, and it is part of the fire department’s annual budget, but it is well worth it and I am grateful for the assistance when Southlake is the City in need.

Our most recent structure fire on Whittington Drive is another great example.  The fire went three alarms and we needed help.  Although the house was a loss, there were no injuries.  One Southlake DPS Facebook poster said it best: “At least there were no injuries or loss of life. That’s what counts.”

Wide view of a brush fire near Trophy Club March 11, 2014

Wide view of a brush fire near Trophy Club, March 11, 2014

 

As we get closer to spring and then summer, please be sure that you are aware of current fire dangers so that you and your family stay safe.  Working together we can help each other get through the upcoming fire season and any dangers that may come with it.