News

Know the way out for Fire Prevention Week

Matthew Croteau, firefighter with the 55th Civil Engineering Squadron, clips wires during the Surviving the Fire Ground, Fire Fighter/Fire Officer and Command Preparedness exercise inside building 163 on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., June 22. Mr. Crouteau was one of 48 firefighters who participated in this training exercise. 

U.S. Air Force Photo by Charles Haymond/Released

Matthew Croteau, firefighter with the 55th Civil Engineering Squadron, clips wires during the Surviving the Fire Ground, Fire Fighter/Fire Officer and Command Preparedness exercise inside building 163 on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., June 22. Mr. Crouteau was one of 48 firefighters who participated in this training exercise. U.S. Air Force Photo by Charles Haymond/Released

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --

Fire prevention week takes place here Oct. 8-14.

 

This year’s theme for the annual campaign is, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”

 

“Nearly half of all Americans have not developed a home fire escape plan,” said David Eblin, Offutt Fire chief. “Of those that have, one-quarter have never practiced it.”

 

To educate the public about the importance of fire escape plans, the Offutt Fire Department will set up displays at the Offutt Exchange, tours for local elementary school students and host an open house at the Offutt Fire Station.

 

“We still have a lot of work to do in educating the public about home fires, escape planning and practice and we plan to bring these issues to the forefront,” Eblin said.

 

In case you can’t make it to one of the venues, remember that the National Fire Prevention website offers the following advice for families:

 

  • Have and escape plan.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

The history behind Fire Prevention Week dates back to the great Chicago fire that began Oct. 8, 1871 and killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.

 

Immediately after the event, firefighters and public officials began informing the public about fire safety on the anniversary. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that observes the Sunday before October 9 through the following Saturday as Fire Prevention Week – the longest public health and safety observance on record.

 

Setting aside the theme for the year, there are things that should be done in the home to keep families safe. Keep washers and dryers clean and free from lint, plan escape routes, handle gas and propane and the equipment they are used in with extreme care and follow safety precautions when storing them. If you require medical oxygen, follow all safety guidelines use and storage.

 

“I have an Aunt who decided to have her morning cigarette and forgot to take the oxygen off,” said Melanie Hopper, Envision Xpress assistant manager. “She suffered burns all over her hands and face and had to be sent to a burn unit to recover.”

 

“It pays to use caution and not disregard warnings you may see on everyday items because they are there for a reason,” she added.

 

Every year the Offutt Fire Department sponsors an open house for Bellevue school children, preschool through second grade. The students are taught fire safety, shown videos, have the opportunity to visit with Sparky, Pluggie and Patches, and given fire safety handouts. Approximately 1,500 children and adults will visit the fire station.

Patrons to the Offutt Exchange can find some information about fire prevention week, fire safety or just stop by and thank the Offutt Fire Department personnel on Oct. 10, 11 or 13, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

On Oct. 12, the Offutt Fire Department will have their trailer on display in Plattsmouth, Neb.

To finish the week, the Offutt Fire Department will host an open house on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.