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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fire News & Holiday Events

Forestville Fire:

Toys for Tots
The Forestville Firefighters Association will be collecting toys for the Holidays again this year. Donations will go to the Forestville Giving Tree Program as well as the Toys for Tots program. Your new and unwrapped gifts may be dropped off at the Forestville Fire Station up to December 23rd. Recalled or used toys cannot be accepted.
New Volunteers

The Forestville Fire District is currently recruiting new Volunteer Firefighters. Applicants must be a minimum of 16 years of age and:
• Have a response time from home (personal residence), or work to the District’s fire station located at 6554 Mirabel Road of no more than ten (10) minutes driving time, following all applicable traffic laws.
• Be 16 years of age or older.
• Possess a high school diploma or equivalent or be enrolled in high school working towards a diploma.
• If 18 or older, possess a valid unrestricted California Driver’s License that meets insurability requirements of District’s liability insurer(s).
• Possess the ability to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodations.
• Be able and willing to follow instructions, District Rules and Regulations, and Standard Operating Guidelines both on and off duty.
If you are interested, you can request an Interest Card by mail by calling 887-2212 or by stopping by the station or visiting the Districts web site at

Santa's Coming
Forestville Firefighter's will be helping to install the Holiday Lights in town soon. They will also be delivering Santa Claus, in one of the District's fire engines, to the Annual Tree Lighting on November 29th at 4 p.m.

Graton Fire:

Graton Fire Christmas Tree Farm

We are celebrating our fourth year of serving the community in a different way… selling Christmas trees. As many of you know, we purchased the Del Davis Tree Farm on Highway 116, just below Green Valley Road, to be the location of our new fire station. However, many of the trees remain and it was decided during the planning stages to maintain the trees and the farm, thereby “softening” the impact of the new building. We realize several long-standing tree farms have retired and with them the traditions of family togetherness, holiday smells, and all the “little” things that make a fresh tree and Christmas so special. We look forward to continuing to give our community these special times and our volunteer firefighters enjoy the opportunity of seeing each of you, year after year. Please come and say hello to Heather O’Dell, former manager of the Victorian Christmas Tree Farm, who continues to nurture and maintain the trees on our behalf. With her efforts, our firefighters, and the support of our community, we anticipate another great season of fundraising for the new fire station! We will be open Thursday-Sunday from 9am to 5pm after Thanksgiving Day. Visit the tree farm on Sunday, Dec 6th to donate blood and receive 10% off your tree! We invite you to come and enjoy homemade apple cider as you wander through our natural tree farm. Always remember to breathe deeply.

Annual Toy Drive

Starting December 1st, firefighters will be collecting new toys for needy families in our district. Keep an eye out for our donation barrel at the Graton Post Office, Andy’s Produce, and during the Holiday event on December 13th at the Graton Community Center, 1-5pm. Thank you to Oak Grove School for partnering with us during our annual toy drive.

Local Fire and Life Safety Tips

Just a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detector and to clean your chimney or woodstove pipe before winter sets in. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating-related fires are the second leading cause of fires in residential dwellings, with chimney and flue fires accounting for 86 percent of heating fires. Couple this with the fact that ever-increasing fuel costs are driving homeowners to use more economical means to heat their homes and it is safe to assume that there will be an increase in the number of chimney fires this winter.

Top Causes for Major Vehicle Crashes

Everyone has heard about defensive driving, but what are some of the more common ways that major accidents happen? Probably at the top of that list is losing control when the tires go over the right shoulder embankment and then the driver overcorrects, which puts the car into oncoming traffic. Head-on collisions are the most dangerous accident type. It is far better to plow through a yard or fence than swerve back into an oncoming truck. Following too closely or not paying attention causes many accidents. CHP officers are taught to watch not only the car in front of them, but as far forward as possible. If the tenth vehicle ahead decides to stop suddenly, you might notice before the car in front of you; giving you extra time to stop. When preparing to make a left turn, do not angle your wheels ahead of time. Should another driver not realize that you are turning and rear-end you, the momentum will push you into the path of oncoming cars.

Driving Tips

For every 10 miles per hour, there should be at least one car length between you and the car in front of you. If you are driving a truck, towing a trailer, or carrying a large load, this distance should double or even triple. Anti-Lock Brakes Systems (ABS) maximize your car’s ability to stop quickly. To activate ABS, just press the brake pedal and hold it. The system will “pulse” the brakes for maximum braking while maintaining the ability to steer. Some drivers perceive this pulsing as a problem and release the brake pedal... don’t! The car is doing exactly what it should to provide optimal stopping and control. Traction control systems have been identified as a major factor in reducing accidents as well; look for more cars to come equipped with this feature. Most systems will automatically reduce power and brake simultaneously if the car starts to slide; allowing the driver to focus on steering.

Burning Permits

Sonoma County Fire and Cal Fire have lifted the ban on burning. Make sure to complete a permit application for where you live – West County is split into two air quality sections, Northern Sonoma County and Bay Area... ask your fire department if you don’t know which one you live in. All regulations are controlled by the Air Quality Districts... not us. If you have further questions, their contact information is on the forms.

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