Although Oct. 8-14 was the official Fire Prevention Week this year, many fire departments are using the whole month of October to emphasize fire safety through public education events.
Derry Fire Department is holding an open house Saturday, Oct. 21, 10a.m. to 2p.m. and Londonderry Fire holds its open house on Saturday, Oct. 14. noon to 4p.m. Those are good times to stop in at your local fire station, meet the crew, and pick up some pointers on keeping safe.
This year’s Fire Prevention theme is “Every Second Counts, Plan 2 Ways Out!” This is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan and emphasizes the importance of having a smoke detector in every bedroom. Fire officials note that half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep. They also say that having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire by half.
Other tips: Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit. Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out. Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them. Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find. Close doors behind you as you leave this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
Having a fire extinguisher is only the first step, knowing how to use it is the vital second step; smoke detector placement, use and testing; making a family escape plan; or the over-riding importance of getting out and staying out of a burning building, your local firefighters are ready to talk fire safety.
And with a fire doubling in size every 30 seconds, the importance of taking fire prevention seriously is a no-brainer.
Calling 911 is another focus of fire safety this month. With the prevalence of cell phones and the frequent absence of landlines, children and everyone else need to know where quick access to the phone is in the middle of the night.
The open houses are also a time for firefighters to explain their gear and air packs to children, so that the youngsters will have nothing to be afraid of if they encounter a firefighter during a fire.
As the saying goes, they’re the ones running into a burning building as everyone else is running out.
Help them out and keep them and yourself safe by learning fire safety and fire prevention tips, and putting them into practice, this month and every month.