October is National Fire Prevention Month Look. Listen. Learn.

“Firefighters save more than homes.  They save hearts, memories, and dreams.” (author unknown)


Each year, during Fire Prevention Month, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) selects a specific theme related to fire safety. For 2018, the theme is – Look (for possible fire hazards and eliminate them), Listen (for fire alarms in your home), and Learn (find at least two ways to get out of your home and to your family’s designated meeting place).  The overall goal is to increase awareness of fire safety and provide reminders about preventive measures we can all follow.

The history of fire prevention month goes all the way back to the tragic fire in Chicago known as the Great Chicago Fire.  The fire, which occurred in 1871, was thought to be started from a barn fire and ultimately resulted in over 250 deaths and left more than 100,000 homeless.

What are some safety tips that firefighters want people to remember or be reminded of?

One of the primary causes of home fires is related to cooking. Does that surprise you?  Getting busy cooking a meal and then being distracted by most anything that takes your attention away from what’s on the stove can be a problem.  It happens so often – the phone or doorbell rings, someone needs you – and you walk out of the kitchen.  Minutes pass before you get back to check the stove.  It doesn’t take long for a grease fire to start up or a pan to boil dry. As a preventative step, try developing a new habit for your family that they come to you versus you leaving the kitchen area.

What should you do in the event of a grease fire?  Put a cover on it immediately to smother it out.  Even if you’re not planning to use a pan cover, it’s better to have one out just in case.  Never pick up the pan or pour water on a grease fire.  Moving the pan just fans the flames and risks burns.

Store gas cans in the garage and away from hot mowers to avoid a spontaneous fire.

We’ve seen those insurance ads about turkey fryers and Christmas trees.  They can be a real hazard if not handled properly.  For instance, don’t put a frozen turkey in a fryer; the ice will melt off the turkey and may boil the grease out of the pan.  Live Christmas trees are beautiful and make a home smell wonderful, but they do require extra care.  If you’re not sure you will keep it well watered, perhaps opting for an artificial tree is a better choice.

Space heaters are the culprits in many home fires.  Use care about where they’re placed and allow for plenty of clearance from drapes or bed linens.  The smoke from burning fabrics may be toxic due to their finishes.  Let a room warm up with a space heater, but shut it off before you go to sleep.  While most have a safety shutoff in case of a tip-over, it won’t help if the unit is upright and overheats near fabrics.

Use caution with candles or incense, and don’t place them too near curtains or leave them unattended.

What are some safety precautions to take around your home?

  • Install smoke detectors and change their batteries twice a year.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors if you have gas logs or heat with gas or oil.
  • Dispose of gas once mowing season is over.
  • Dispose of old, unused paint or other hazardous substances by taking to hazardous waste dump.

What are some services that firefighters do beyond firefighting?

  • Most calls for firefighters are medical-related (up to 70%).Most firefighters are classified as EMTs (emergency medical technician) as part of their basic training.
  • If there are injuries or fluids leaking from a car accident, the fire department may be called.Firefighters are trained for vehicle rescues using Jaws of Life, cutters, or rams to free those trapped.
  • Some firefighters are specialists in specific areas such as technical rescue (water, building collapses, floodwater, cave-in situations, confined spaces) or hazardous materials (chemical spills – fuel tanker, biotech research facilities).

Take a moment during this month to thank a firefighter and his family for their role in our community.  Their training and dedication keep us safe.

“Some people run from problems. Others run into them. Thank you, Firefighters!”  (author unknown)


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