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Fire Prevention
Col Om Prakash, 82nd Training Wing vice-commander, signs the Fire Prevention Week proclamation along with the base fire department staff and Sparky the Fire Dog at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 3, 2012. Signing this documents shows national support of fire departments as they teach fire safety in their community . (US Air Force Photo/Danny Webb)
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Fire Prevention Week: "Have Two Ways Out"

Posted 10/3/2012   Updated 10/3/2012 Email story   Print story


by Danny Webb
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

10/3/2012 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The theme of this year's Fire Prevention Week is "Have Two Ways Out", with the base observing Fire Prevention Week Oct. 8-14.

To kick off the week, Col. Om Prakash, 82nd Training Wing vice-commander, signed a proclamation on Oct. 3 designating the upcoming week on base as Fire Prevention Week.  The proclamation shows national support for fire departments as they train the community on fire safety.

In considering the "Have Two Ways Out" theme, parents should have a plan on what to do in case of a fire and practice this plan until it becomes habit.

"The majority of most fires happen in the home," said Rodney Ryalls, Sheppard's Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention. "Practicing fire drills such as Exiting Drills In The Home (EDITH) is good for the entire family to sit down and discuss a plan of action in case of a fire."

Fire prevention week is not only educational for children but also adults. Simple things like installing a working smoke detector can save a life.

"There are many important tips to share, but one important one is to encourage people to get familiarized with their smoke detectors," said Hal McLelland, base fire inspector. "It's very important to test the smoke detectors on a regular basis, change batteries regularly and to help the community be aware of the different types of smokes detector on the market today."

Stove safety is also a topic to be covered when discussing fires in the home.

"A great learning tip for parents is stove safety," McLelland said. "The handle to the skillet should be off to the side and not over the edge where small hands can reach up and grab the handle and pull it down on top of them."

Children should also learn to stay three feet away from the stove.

The history of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Prevention week dates back to 1871.

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which 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 October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

On the 40th anniversary of the fire, the Fire Marshal Association of North America decided that the fire anniversary should be observed by keeping the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.

In 1922, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Day of Fire Prevention. In 1925 the President signed a proclamation that Fire Prevention Week would be observed from Sunday through Saturday of the week of October 9 every year.

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