Town Talk: Fire Prevention Week coming up

Town Talk

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 8-14 and the New Ulm Fire Department is excited to educate on this year’s theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”

Seconds can mean the difference between life and tragedy. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan and almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan, however, less than half ever practiced it.

Use these simple strategies to teach your family how to escape a home fire:

• Draw a map of your home, marking two exits/paths from each room;

• Practice a home fire drill twice a year;

• Teach children how to escape on their own if you can’t help them;

• Make sure your house is clearly marked so the fire department can find it;

• Unblock all exits;

• designate a meeting place outside;

• close doors behind you as you leave, it may prevent the spread of smoke, heat or fire; and

• once you get outside, stay outside – never go back into a burning building.

Fire Prevention Week is on record as the longest running public health observance. The NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week since 1922. It is observed during October in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. Throughout the years, fires have changed the way that firefighters and public officials think about fire safety. Designating a fire prevention week to focus on fire safety education was found to be beneficial.

The New Ulm Fire Department strives to promote fire safety and education throughout the year, however during Fire Prevention Week we plan extra activities to reach out to the community. On Oct. 5, New Ulm 4th grade students experienced the “Fire Safety Trailer” where they learned about calling 911, recognized fire hazards, practiced keeping low in smoke an escaped through a window. On Oct. 10, firefighters will visit the schools and perform fire drills with the students. Also on Tuesday, Oct. 10, NUFD will team up with Domino’s for Pizza Night. Random delivery orders between 6-8 p.m. will be selected to have a fire truck accompany their delivery. If the smoke detectors in the home are in working order, their order will be free. If smoke detectors are not working, firefighters will replace batteries or install new detectors. On Wednesday, Oct. 11 an Open House will be held at the Fire Station at 526 8th North St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 to 8 pm. We encourage everyone to stop by, meet the firefighters, tour the station and view the trucks.

Also, be sure to “Like” the New Ulm Fire Department Facebook page which will feature NFPA’s Sparky in several videos containing helpful tips for teaching your children about home fire safety. Additional fun, interactive activities and downloadable materials are also available at www.nfpa.org/public-education/campaigns/fire-prevention-week.

As we prepare for Fire Prevention Week, we encourage community members to work on their fire escape plans and remember “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”

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