Fire week to focus on prevention

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 9, 2000

Monday, October 09, 2000

To mark Ohio’s Fire Prevention Week, fire departments across Lawrence County will visit area schools with fire safety tips.

Activities will get the message out about the importance of fire drills, said Mike Boster of Lawrence County Emergency Services, EMA and 911.

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Rome Township firefighters, the highway patrol and SEOEMS ambulance personnel visited Fairland schools today.

SEOEMS, other firefighters and 911 are scheduled to visit Symmes Valley schools this week.

Throughout the week, schoolchildren will receive a home fire escape planning grid, Boster said.

They can use this with their families to plan a fire drill, he said.

"Children and families need to know this because it’s a scary situation," Boster said. "If they plan and practice ahead of time, then they will know how to respond correctly. During a fire there are only a couple of minutes that they can safely escape, because fire spreads so quickly."

Boster said that some of the fire safety programs will also involve a 911 simulator, which generates a series of questions that the 911 dispatcher asks when called.

This familiarizes children with the 911 system without them having to actually call 911.

"The goal is to make the child less frightened if they really dial 911," Boster said.

State fire officials say National Fire Prevention Week targets home escape plans because in 1999 there were 15,645 residential fires – 131 people were killed and 970 were injured.

Injuries and deaths decrease if families practice a home fire escape plan

State Fire Marshal Robert Rielage offers the following safety tips:

– Every household should practice a home fire escape drill. Each member of the home should know what to do in case of a fire. Each person should plan at least two ways out of every room in their home in case of fire, because during a fire at least one route of escape may be blocked.

– Since fires don’t just happen at home, a person should also know two escape routes out of every room at work as well.

– Have a working smoke detector on every floor of the home, including the basement, and outside of each sleeping area. If you sleep with the doors closed, have one installed inside your sleeping area as well.

– Test detectors every month, following the manufacturer’s direction. Replace batteries once a year whether they need it or not. Replace detectors that are more than 10 years old.

Rielage said that although many smoke detectors retail for $10, they are often not present in homes or are not operational. In residential fires reported to Rielage’s office, smoke detectors were not present nearly 30 percent of the time.

"The facts speak clearly: Working smoke detectors save lives. They also double individual’s chances of escaping a nighttime fire," Rielage said.