Fire Prevention Week

Published 4:21 pm Monday, October 10, 2011

JACKSON — Northampton County officials are encouraging citizens to participate in Fire Prevention Week.

On Monday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners declared Oct. 9-15 as Fire Prevention Week.

Brian Parnell, Northampton County Emergency Management director, brought a resolution for adoption by the board.

Parnell said Fire Prevention Week was first recognized in 1922 as the nation’s fire officials designated that entire period that began on October 9, the same date as the devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

“Fire is a serious public safety concern both locally and nationally,” he said. “Home fires killed more than 2,500 people in the United States in 2009 from more than 360,000 home fires.”

He added fire and burn injuries to children account for nearly 200 emergency room visits on a daily basis nationwide.

Cooking equipment, heating and electrical equipment, smoking materials and candles are all leading causes of fires.

Parnell said Fire Prevention Week is an opportunity to educate the public on the dangers of fire and prevention measures that will assist in the efforts of reducing fires and fire-related deaths.

“Working smoke alarms do decrease the risk of dying in home fires by half,” he said.

The presence of an automatic sprinkler system in a home cut the risk of dying in a fire by approximately 80 percent. Residents who have a home fire escape plan are more prepared and will therefore be more likely to survive a fire.

Area fire departments do have plans to reach out to the community during Fire Prevention Week.

“The local fire departments will go out into the schools in their community, usually (visit) the third grade age group,” he said. “They go out and educate them about ‘Stop, drop and roll,’ fire alarms in their houses, and show the equipment from the fire department. Some fire departments do have open houses that week and encourage the community to come out and see what type of equipment (they use) and what they do.”

Northampton County has 10 volunteer fire departments with a combined roster of over 250 members to protect citizens in the county 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“These men and women spend numerous hours away from their family completing required training to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest building materials, fire fighting and rescue techniques,” said Parnell. “These departments will respond during horrendous conditions and circumstances to protect the persons of their districts and do so without question, without asking for pay and without hesitation.”

Commission Vice Chairperson James Hester moved to adopt the proclamation. Commissioner Robert Carter offered a second and the motion passed without objection.