SFD promotes National Fire Prevention Week
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA — The Fire Department aims to impact households across the city by presenting fire safety and awareness classes to students at Indian Valley Elementary School this week.

The classes are in recognition of National Fire Prevention Week, a time dedicated to fire safety, awareness and education since 1922.

“The purpose of our efforts is, of course, to educate kids on fire safety and home safety, and then hopefully that translates into educating their parents as well,” said Fire Chief Matt Missildine. “This is a good opportunity for us to influence a lot of households, and we want to take advantage of that whenever we can.”

Firefighters are teaching students about smoke detectors, exit drills, kitchen and fireplace safety and other helpful tips for fire prevention. Each student will receive fire safety material to take home.

Also, students will see a firefighter dressed in an air pack and safety gear to further prepare them in case of an actual emergency, Missildine said.

“If we have to come in and search for a child wearing the gear, it can be intimidating,” he said. “We want them to see us outside of an emergency situation, so if a fireman does have to come into their home, they are more comfortable and know we’re there to help.”

According to a press release from the Fire Department, fire causes a civilian injury every 31 minutes and results in a death every 175 minutes.

In addition, a fire department responds to a fire every 23 seconds. Every 66 seconds, a fire occurs in a structure, and every 87 seconds, a residential fire strikes.

A proactive approach to fire safety can reduce these numbers. The department recommends installing smoke alarms inside and outside sleeping areas in the home and checking the batteries twice a year. Developing and practicing fire escape drills at home and work is also important, as well as inspecting fire extinguishers for the proper pressure and function.

National Fire Prevention Week is observed across the country the week of Oct. 9 in memory of the Great Chicago Fire, which burned from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10, 1871, killing hundreds and burning about 3 square miles in Chicago.

For more information, contact the Fire Department at 256-249-6204.

Contact Emily Adams at eadams@dailyhome.com.

© 2012