By Jim Buell
This year’s National Fire Prevention Week message tells us to look around, listen and then learn from what our senses are telling us.
It’s a three-part message:
• Look for places fire can start.
• Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.
• Learn two ways out of each room.
We teach children in school to listen for the smoke alarm and then to get out and stay out. Have you taught them to do the same at home? Have you designed a home escape plan to know two ways out of every room and two ways out of your house? Have you decided on a central family meeting place and more importantly, have you practiced and put your plan in motion?
On school visits, firefighters use a special state Safety Trailer where we have your children hunt for home hazards and identify places fires can start.
You can also look around your house and find these hazards on your own and correct them so that a fire doesn’t start. Look around for frayed wires, wires under carpeting, combustible items too close to your fireplace or wood stove, or improperly stored gasoline for your power equipment, just to name a few.
Look around, if it seems to not look right, it probably isn’t.
“Paying attention to your surroundings, looking for available exits in the event of a fire or other emergency, and taking the smoke alarm seriously if it sounds can make a potentially life-saving difference in a fire or other emergency situation,” said Lorraine Carli, National Fire Protection Association vice president of outreach and advocacy.
Look around your workplace, hotels and motels, homes of friends or family, and the grocery store. Just by looking around, you can find the closest exit, see potential hazards and then in your mind develop a quick plan on how to stay safe if something happens.
Fire prevention and safety isn’t just one week of the year, but all 52.
Jim Buell is the Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department’s fire prevention/public education officer.