Soon, Great Bend firefighters will be making their annual rounds to local grade schools. They will show the kids firefighters are not to be feared and remind them how to be safe when fire strikes.
To this end, the Office of the State Fire Marshal, Safe Kids Kansas, and Governor Brownback are joining with the National Fire Prevention Association and fire service agencies throughout the State and U.S. to dedicate this week as Fire Prevention Week. The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week is “Hear the Beep Where you Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm” reminding residents about the importance of having working smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
According to State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen, in Kansas, nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out.
And seconds count,he said.
According to statistics gathered through the National Fire Incident Reporting System, nationally three out of five fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Also, In 2014, Kansas fire departments responded to 2,933 residential fires, and these fires resulted in 109 civilian injuries and 25 civilian deaths, 66 firefighter injuries and $58 million in direct damage.
“Children need to know how to respond to the sound of a smoke alarm,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. “Teach them to get low and get out when they hear it. A child who is coached properly ahead of time will have a better chance to get out of danger safely, so practice your escape plan regularly as a family.”
Officials urge residents to: Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home, this way, when one sounds, they all do; test alarms regularly; make sure alarms are not old and out of date; and have an evacuation plan in place.
Fire departments throughout Kansas, including Great Bend, will be hosting activities during Fire Prevention Week to promote this campaign through these educational, family-oriented activities.
It is easy to get complacent when it comes to fire safety. Now is the time to remind ourselves of the danger fire presents and to take steps to make our homes safer.