Our Opinion: Preparation, prevention, protection

Preparation is a key to prevention and protection.

During Fire Prevention Week, observed through Saturday, the campaign is “Protect Your Family From Fire” and the theme is “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!”

Preparation is a common element of both cautions.

Recommendations to prevent fires in homes are well-documented. They include:

• Keep flammable materials away from fireplaces, stoves and other heat sources.

• Never leave the kitchen while cooking.

• Replace damaged electrical fixtures and cords.

• Be careful when smoking or using candles.

Despite conscientious efforts, fires in homes do occur – all too frequently. A home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds during 2009, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

If a fire occurs, an alarm and an escape plan are critical.

Working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire nearly in half, said Jason Turner, public information officer for the Jefferson City Fire Department.

During the week-long observance, local firefighters will be hosting fire station tours, visiting elementary schools and installing smoke alarms. Information is available by calling the department at 634-6401.

A preferred method, particularly in multi-story homes, is interconnected smoke alarms; when one alarm sounds, all are triggered.

The other crucial component is an escape plan. “Smoke and fires can spread very quickly,” said Randy Cole, state fire marshal. “Practicing an evacuation plan with your family can save critical seconds and could save your loved ones from injury or death.”

During this week’s observance, take time to prepare and to protect your family from fire.

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