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Fire safety message benefits all

The best way to fight fires is to prevent them from ever starting in the first place.

That is the focus of a variety of educational events hosted this week in honor of national Fire Prevention Week.

Fire departments across the county have visited schools to educate our youth about the dangers of playing with fire and how to respond in case of emergency.

This is a positive community service that could help save lives in the future. But the awareness efforts shouldn’t be reserved just for our youth. Adults should take advantage of this increased emphasis to evaluate their homes to ensure that working smoke detectors are in place, that no fire hazards exist and that fire extinguishers are accessible.

This year’s theme for the week is “Have Two Ways Out.” The National Fire Protection Association offers the following tips:

> Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the plan with everyone in your home.

> Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible.

> Have an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.

> Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.

> Practice using different ways out.

> Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.

Even the best firefighters in the world, armed with the newest equipment, will tell you that the easiest fire to fight is the one that never starts.