Fire Prevention Week continues

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

St. Peter’s Lutheran School student Addison Hohenberger puts into practice the slogan of 2017 Fire Prevention Week: Every Second Counts; Plan 2 Ways Out. Fire Marshal Tommy Crane and Marble Falls Fire Rescue is bringing this 'fire house,' complete with sounding fire alarms and wisps of smoke, to area schools through next week. From inside children can see demonstrations of kitchen fire safety and practice safe exit from a fire, something fire officials urge parents to do twice a year at home.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

This has been Fire Prevention Week in the Highland Lakes and events of the observance will continue into coming days at Marble Falls and Granite Shoals elementary schools.

A proclamation by mayor John Packer at the Tuesday, Oct. 3,  meeting of the Marble Falls City council  drove home the theme: “Every Second Counts, Plan Two Ways Out!”

Fire Chief Russell Sander and Fire Marshal Tommy Crane were on hand for the proclamation.

“We will be in the schools with a Fire Safety House during the week,” said Crane. “Children can practice exiting drills in simulation.”

“Fires develop very quickly and people don't realize how fast a fire can take over a building,” said Sander. “People may have as little as one to two minutes to escape from the time a smoke alarm sounds. They need two ways out of every room in the house. They may have to go to a window and they need to know if they will be able to get out that way.”

“Fortunately, home fires are few here in Marble Falls,” said the chief. “But, when they happen, they are a localized disaster for a family.

“We encourage everyone to practice their home fire escape drill at least twice a year. Have a meeting place that doesn't move—the mailbox or a tree. Once you are out, stay out.”

Across the country fire departments responded to 365,500 home fires in 2015, according the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). They resulted in 2,560 civilian deaths.

The proclamation recounted the primary reason for the fast-moving lethal fires: “Many of today's products and furnishings produce toxic gases and smoke when burned, making it impossible to see and breathe within moments. These conditions contribute to a much smaller window of time for people to escape...”

Fire Prevention Week, which is being observed also by other fire departments around Texas and the Highland Lakes, is on record as the longest running public health observance in the country, according to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center.

The NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week since 1922, when the commemoration began, but the concept dates much further back in history. It grew out of commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began Oct. 8,1871, and did most of its damage October 9. The NFPA reports the horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.

Just as side note to historic “fake news,” neither Mrs. O'Leary nor one of her cow's could be blamed for the conflagration. The Chicago Tribune reporter who started the urban legend 146 years ago confessed in 1893 that he'd made up the story that persists today.


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