October Commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. So, the week of Oct. 3-9 is set aside to celebrate National Fire Safety Week. It is the hope that by setting aside the week that fire safety awareness will be raised and people will be able to protect their families and their homes.
Statistics show that three out of five home fire deaths result because of no working smoke detectors in the home. Most homeowners don’t have an escape plan, and 60 percent don’t test their smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms monthly. Carbon dioxide poisoning is the number one reason for accidental poisoning. Only 47 percent of homeowners have working carbon dioxide alarms in their homes. The number one reason for fires in the home is unattended cooking.
Lt. Branden Jackman, public information officer for the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District, recently discussed the history of the district and fire safety.
The Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District was formed in 2009. It is the largest fire district in the state of Ohio. It is organized under the Ohio Revised Code and supported through a tax levy. Paint Creek serves 363 square miles in the district. Those miles consist of nine townships in Highland County, Hillsboro, Greenfield, two townships in Ross County and part of a township in Fayette County. It has stations in Hillsboro, Rainsboro and Greenfield, according to Jackman.
Jackman explained that fire safety begins in the home and that every floor in your home should have a smoke detector. Each home should have a fire extinguisher, an evacuation plan, a meeting place, an escape ladder (if your home is more than one floor), and be prepared. You should also replace the batteries in your detectors twice a year, usually in the fall and the spring.
Jackman also explained safety at work, which contains some of the same safety steps from home, but employees should also have fire drills, know at least two escape routes out of the building, and know where the fire extinguishers are located. He also explained not to go further into the building to get a fire extinguisher and to only use the extinguisher to escape the building. Most importantly, stay out of the building once you get out and let the firemen do their job.
During Fire Safety Month, Paint Creek will visit every school in the district. It goes to educate and entertain by using the Kasey Program, organized in 1995. The program educates by use of music, singing and a dog. Black labs are used in the program. Each year new puppies are trained for the program. The dogs teach how to stop, drop and roll and how to crawl low to get through smoke.
Jackman said that you have approximately two to three minutes to get out of your house in the event of a fire. It takes longer for older homes to burn than the newer homes because of the synthetic fibers used in newer homes.
”This is one job you come to and hope you don’t have to work, because if you do, someone is having a bad day,” Jackman said.
Jackie Wolgamott is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.