GRAFTON—The Grafton Fire Department is an entity that prides itself on not only protecting the people and property of the community but educating residents of all ages about the dangers of home fires and ways to ensure their families stay safe.
The department sets out every year to meet with the area’s younger residents, because fire safety and prevention techniques learned at a young age can be carried on throughout a youth’s lives, helping to increase their effectiveness.
The fire department’s fire prevention education is on-going all year long, but the department focuses their efforts during the annual Fire Prevention Week. This year, the special week was held from Sunday, October 3 through Saturday, Oct 9.
During the week, the Grafton Fire Department educated children at area schools with a trip to their brand new fire safety house used to teach students about the importance of fire safety in a simulated setting.
“Thanks to the George and Marjorie McCauley estate, the Grafton Fire Department was gifted funds that were used to purchase a new state-of-the-art fire safety trailer,” shared Grafton Fire Chief Ryan Roberts. “We were happy to put it to use for the first time during this year’s Fire Prevention Week.”
The previous fire prevention house had been used by the department for over 20 years and helped to educate over 1,000 children annually on the dangers of fire and what should be done in the event of one.
With their new apparatus, the department hopes to continue with on with their tradition.
During their time in the fire house, students are able to tour the rooms and learn how each room can pose a particular threat. Whether it is a fireplace in a living room or the stove in a kitchen, students learn rules and tips for their proper use.
Firefighters simulate an actual home fire, using fog machines to fill the fire safety house with “smoke,” activating real smoke alarms, allowing the children to hear first-hand how they sound.
The students are then taught to remain low to the floor, and to exit the house in a timely fashion, meeting at a designated spot outside.
The department also shows an informational but fun video to students, reiterating safety techniques and how to help prevent fires.
The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Prevention Week was created in 1922, and in 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in the country.
The educational observance is held each year during the week of October 9, to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!”
“It’s important to learn the different sounds of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. When an alarm makes noise, a beeping sound or a chirping sound, you must take action,” voiced Roberts. “Make sure everyone in the home understands the sounds of the alarms and knows how to respond.”
He added that an easy way to learn the sounds of a home’s specific smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, check the manufacturer’s instructions that came in the box, or search the brand and model online.
According to the NFPA, different sounds emitted from these lifesaving devices have different meanings. For instance, a continuous set of three loud beeps means smoke or fire, and individuals should get out of the home and call 911 immediately, while a single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed.
Fire Prevention Week is the perfect time for families to make sure that smoke alarms are properly installed and working. Alarms should be installed in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
When installed correctly, smoke alarms save lives, and statistics show they cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
Officials also take the week to encourage families to prepare and practice a home escape plan, so that everyone will know what to do in the event of a house fire.
“A household that has prepared is much safer,” expressed Roberts. “A home fire can happen at any time. We urge people to take some steps now and know what they should do if an emergency occurs.”
For more tips on Fire Prevention Week, fire safety tips and home escape planning, please visit www.firepreventionweek.org.