Although Oct. 4-10 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 and Hampstead Fire Departments are holding open houses Saturday, Oct. 17, and Londonderry Fire holds its open house on Saturday, Oct. 24. 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 “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep,” 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. So it’s common sense to keep that smoke detector working.
Whether it’s fire extinguisher training – having the 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 don and 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.
Because fire departments are funded with tax dollars, they’re often looked at as easy prey for budget cuts. People see firefighters sitting at the fire hall, and don’t think about the high stress of the work they are called on to do without warning, at all hours of the day and night, 24/7. 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.