by Rachel Hunter
The Gouverneur Fire Department will once again open its doors during the National Fire Prevention Week. An open house will be held on Saturday, October 13, 1 to 4 p.m.
Since 1922, the NFPA has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.
Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.
In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time every October during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.
While children under 5 and adults over 65 are at the highest risk for injury or death in a fire, people of all ages are vulnerable. In fact, the risk of a nonfatal fire injury is highest for those between 20 and 49, showing that fire safety education is essential for everyone. Additional risk factors include race, socio-economic status, education level, and geographic location.
The purpose of Fire Prevention Week is to bring awareness to the risk of death in case of a fire and provide educational resources to people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic status in order to keep everyone safe. The Gouverneur Fire Department is pleased each year to open its doors during Fire Prevention Week and host a flurry of activities to raise fire prevention awareness.
This year’s FPW campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere,” works to educate people about three basic but essential steps to take to reduce the likelihood of having a fire––and how to escape safely in the event of one: LOOK: Look for places fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them. LISTEN: Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet. LEARN: Learn two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter. The GFD Open House will include the St. Lawrence County Fire Chiefs Safety Trailer, giving local residents the chance to have a “real-life experience” practicing how to escape from a building in the case of a fire.
There will also be fire extinguisher training which will give local residents to get some “hands-on experience” and educate them on how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire.
Operation Safe Child will also be on site, thanks to the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office. Families who participate will receive a free, wallet-sized ID card containing a child’s name, biographical information (date of birth, age, gender, height, weight, hair and eye color) and a fingerprint image of both index fingers. The card is created in under two minutes. It can be carried in a wallet or purse. Interested parents can also choose to store the fingerprints, basic biographical information and photos of children – this information may be critical in the event of a lost or missing child. The storage of the information is entirely voluntary and requires the express written consent of a parent or legal guardian. Should the parent wish to share the information, it would be digitally recorded and stored in a state database; in the event the NYS DCJS (the agency that stores the information) receives a missing child report, the fingerprints of that child could then be used to help in the return of the missing child. The program is free.
Also on site will be exhibits/displays from LifeNet, Gouverneur Rescue Squad, Gouverneur Police Department, NYS Troopers, K-9 Unit. Local dignitaries also plan to make appearances throughout the three-hour event, including NYS Assemblyman Kenneth Blankenbush.
Chili and hotdogs will also be available for those in attendance.
The 2018 Gouverneur Fire Department Open House is sure to have something for everyone on Saturday, October 13, 1 to 4 p.m. at the fire hall, located at 1035 U.S. Highway 11, Gouverneur, NY. For more info, visit Gouverneur Fire Department on Facebook.