October has been named as Fire Safety Month, and members of the local fire department stress the importance of staying safe.
“Every month should be Fire Safety Month,” Wapakoneta Firefighter Doug Kill said.
Fire Safety Month is celebrated every October and this is because October is the month when the Great Chicago Fire occurred in 1871. This fire was one of the largest U.S. disasters of the 19th century.
This week is being celebrated Fire Safety Week, and members of the Wapakoneta Fire Department said this is a good time to review fire safety at home.
Two important things that each household should review during this month is making sure everyone knows the exit plan of their home if a fire should occur and making sure all smoke detectors are working properly.
“Having an exit plan and a meeting place are very important,” Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites said. “Nobody thinks they will have a fire. It happens suddenly and catches you off guard.”
This is why it is important to have a plan intact before an emergency situation occurs, Krites said. Having a meeting place is especially important, because this helps the family know who has gotten out and who is still in the house.
By having a meeting place families can determine who was able to get out and who is still in the home. The family should wait for the fire department to arrive to help anyone who is still inside the home.
“An escape plan ensures everyone is going to get out and sometimes when you don’t have a meeting place, people go back in (to look for others),” Krites said.
Krites said that without a meeting place, it is difficult to keep track of the other family members, and whether they were able to get out, but he stressed that someone should never re-enter the home.
“You should never go back in,” Krites said. “Many times when you go back in, you don’t come out a second time.”
Kill noted that for the escape plan, it is important to have two different ways out of the home when a fire occurs.
Another important item for households to review is making sure all smoke detectors are properly working in the home.
The batteries in a smoke detector should be changed twice a year, and a time that Krites suggests is changing them when the time changes each fall and spring.
Daylight Savings Time this year starts Nov. 6, where everyone will turn their clocks back one hour, so when turning clocks back, batteries should be replaced in all smoke detectors.
“Smoke detectors give early detection of a fire,” Krites said.
A smoke detector should be checked each month, and can be checked by pressing the button on it to makes sure it works properly. There should be a smoke detector on every floor in the home and either inside or outside the bedrooms.
“The most important thing is to have smoke detectors that work and a fire escape plan,” Kill said.
In addition to Fire Safety Month, the Fire Pup will be visiting New Beginnings Early Childhood Development Center, Auglaize County Preschool and the Auglaize County Health Department this month to talk about fire safety.