Educate yourself on fire safety for Fire Prevention Week

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Monday marked the start of Fire Prevention Month, which means fire departments across the country will be raising awareness on fire safety.
Every year the week of Oct. 9 is recognized as Fire Prevention Week, in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire which began Oct. 8, 1871, and did most of its damage Oct. 9. The horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.
With cooler weather on the way, the heat will be turned on, resulting in a greater risk for fires. The importance of a working smoke alarm in your home cannot be stressed enough. The National Fire Protection Association reports that three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
The presence of smoke detectors can be the single-biggest lifesaver in the event of a fire, according to the NFPA. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported home fire in half. Fire departments urge residents to replace their smoke detector batteries twice a year, when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.
If you do not have a working smoke alarm, you are urged to call the Elizabethton Fire Dept., and they usually provide, free of cost, smoke alarms for citizens. The National Fire Protection Association notes that in a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time every October during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.
The Elizabethton Fire Department offers the following fire safety tips to help people prevent or escape a fire and avoid tragedy:
• Never leave matches, lighters or smoking materials in the reach of children.
• If you smoke, never use smoking materials in bed or while drowsy.
• Establish a smoking area away from buildings and flammable materials.
• Carefully extinguish smoking materials in sand, water or a deep ashtray.
• Never flick cigarette butts on the ground or out of windows and doors.
• Keep flammable items away from stovetops, candles, space heaters and other sources of heat.
• Never leave the kitchen while food is cooking on the stove.
• Don’t run electrical cords under rugs and never overload extension cords. Have outlets installed instead.
• Never leave burning candles and incense unattended. Always use stable candle holders and incense burners.
• Test smoke alarms monthly. Change alarm batteries twice a year. Replace smoke alarms after 10 years of use.
• Find 2 ways out of every room in your home and develop a fire escape plan with your family.
• Make sure fire escape routes are clutter-free, doors and windows open easily and barred windows have an emergency release.
• Plan an outside meeting place where family members meet after escaping a fire.
We encourage everyone to take some time this week to educate yourselves on how to be fire safe and we would also like to take this opportunity to thank local firefighters for all you do to keep us safe. You are more appreciated than you know!

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