Help us celebrate Fire Prevention Week Oct. 5-11

  • Published
  • By Stacey Maples
  • Fire Prevention Office
Boring right? Not at all. I recall it was 1994 and it was the first time I witnessed a family lose their home and all of their worldly possessions to fire. The memory sticks with you forever and the looks on the children's faces, ages five and seven, have been embedded into my memory for a lifetime. 

I was on the first arriving fire engine; the heat conditions and structural instability prevented us from entering the house and trying to halt the rapid spreading fire. The home was a total loss. 

Within an hour of arriving, we finally brought the fire under control--the easy part. The occupants of the home eventually arrived to the devastation only one can imagine. They had lost everything--with the exception of each other, thank God! 

Throughout my career, I have seen dozens of homes destroyed by fire, and I can tell you it happens all too often--and most can be prevented. A home fire is reported every 79 seconds in the U.S., and on average, three thousand deaths are reported annually due to home fires. 

The time for you to take an active role is now, and below are several tips to help you in this endeavor. We ask that you spend a few minutes with your family this week discussing fire safety in the home, and remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

The following are a few tips to consider:
- Ensure electrical cords are in good condition (not damaged)
- Ensure appliances and lights are plugged into separate electrical outlets
- Ensure all smoke detectors work and are tested at six month intervals
- Ensure curtains and other items that can burn are away from stovetops
- Ensure the clothes dryer has a clean vent and filter (no lint build-up)
- Ensure portable space heaters are 3 feet away from anything that can burn
- Inspect your furnace annually
- Inspect your chimney annually
- Never leave cooking unattended
- Never smoke in your bed 

For any questions you may have regarding fire safety in the home or any form of fire safety, please contact the base Fire Prevention office at 257-4410.