Well, we are getting close to that time when the ghosts, goblins and monsters of all sorts will be out in full force just waiting to pounce on us unless we fend them off with an offering of some sort of treat. Of course, this time of year it’s all in good fun as we observe Halloween and all the spooky decorations and outfits.
Unfortunately, there is one monster out there that we in the fire service warn about that is as real as real can be. Fire, of course. No secret there. In the world of firefighting we even call it “fighting the dragon”, that mythical beast whose breath brings death and destruction to all it encounters. This is the monster we want all of you to be able to escape.
In keeping with that idea, we also observe Fire Prevention Week in October of each year. The National Fire Protection Association, also known as the NFPA, is the biggest sponsor of this week and ever year they have a different theme in an attempt to educate the public on ways to stay fire safe. This year’s theme is Look, Listen and Learn.
So, along with the NFPA, we in your local fire departments, encourage all of you to look around at your corner of the world. We want you to be on the lookout for conditions that may promote the starting of a fire such as the buildup of materials around furnaces, heaters, hot water tanks and the like. It may not have been a problem all summer but now that heating season is upon us, make sure it gets cleared out.
Check for that extra amount of lint built up in and around the dryer. Check the garages, cupboards and utility areas for those chemical items that could leak and create trouble. Give your home the once-over and clear out the “stuff” that presents a fire danger.
When it comes to listening, we encourage you to listen for the smoke alarm. Now we all know that when that baby goes off, it’s not too hard to hear, but listen also to when it’s not going off. Smoke detectors need electrical power to operate, and when they aren’t getting an adequate supply such as a battery going bad, they will make a periodic beep or chirping noise. Listening for that will help you maintain a lifesaving piece of equipment.
The last point of this year’s theme is learning. It’s very important that we all learn two ways out of rooms, areas, or buildings. We all get accustomed to using the same way in and out of places to the point of not even thinking about alternatives, but when fire strikes those familiar paths may be blocked. This is when learning how to escape from fire different ways may be a lifesaver.
Get familiar with how your windows operate so you can open them quickly or getting to that other door you never use. Along with how to get out, also learn where your safe meeting area is once you do get out. Make sure that everyone in the family knows and practices all of these things exiting techniques.
For much more information, we encourage you to go to www.nfpa.org. We realize that it may be impossible to escape some of the monsters, such as that miniature Count Dracula, or little wicked witch running around, but with a little effort we hope you can escape that very real monster; the dragon, and his nasty bite. Stay safe everyone!
Markey Township firefighter