There are two main things that you can do to keep yourself and your family safe when it comes to fire prevention, according to Bill Cronin, chief fire prevention officer with the Township of Woolwich Fire Department. First, always make sure that there is a working smoke alarm on every floor of the house. Secondly, make sure that everyone in the building is familiar with the home escape plan. Everyone should know what to do, and where to go in case of a fire.
These themes, among others were front and centre at last week’s Fire Prevention Week festivities at all of the local fire stations. Community members were invited out to view the stations and take in a mix of food, festivities and fire safety in Elmira, Conestogo, St. Jacobs, Maryhill, Wellesley, Linwood and Floradale.
If you ask any child in St. Jacobs, it seems clear that the fire prevention team is doing a great job of getting those important messages across. Cronin visits every classroom each year and is increasingly impressed by the amount of knowledge the youngsters possess about fire safety.
“I think kids in our area, and kids today know more about fire prevention than any other generation has. If I ask them what to do if their clothes catch on fire, they know to stop, drop and roll. If I ask them where they should keep their fire escape plan, they know it is on the fridge door. All the kids know – right down to the kindergartners.”
Fire Prevention Week was established 90 years ago to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 blaze that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on Oct. 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on Oct. 9.
Over at the Floradale station, the rain that fell Oct. 9 didn’t deter about 450 people from coming out to check out the new fire hall. Kids and adults alike watched demonstrations as firefighters put out a pot fire on a stove, and a Christmas tree fire. Firefighters also explained and demonstrated the Jaws of Life, various equipment on the fire truck, and even gave kids a chance to try using the hose. Floradale district chief Dennis Frey couldn’t be happier with the level of public involvement.
“We are so thankful for the support from our community. We are here to serve them, to make the place safe for them. When they come out to see the station at our open house, that is just a pat on the back for us and what we are trying to do. We love to see them.”