Tuesday, Oct. 11 marks the start of Fire Prevention Week.
Although fire prevention and safety should be a daily theme, Fire Prevention Week has been observed since 1922 as a way to remind folks of the danger of fire, and is always the week in which Oct. 9 falls. The significance of this date relates to two major conflagrations in which thousands of lives were lost, the Great Chicago Fire and the Peshtigo (Wisconsin) Fire.
Every year since, the National Fire Protection Association has chosen a specific message that is used as the theme for that year. This year’s message is “Don’t Wait, Check the Date!” and is intended as a reminder to everyone that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have a useful life of no more than 10 years from the date of manufacture. The manufacture date can be found on the back of the detector.
Like many messages from past years, the theme serves as a means to combat a fire safety related problem that has been identified. This year’s message is a call to action to actually remove smoke detectors from their mounting brackets, check the manufacture date, and replace any detector that is over or nearing 10 years of age. This would also create a great opportunity to change the batteries while the detector is in your hands. A working smoke detector is often the difference between life and death.
Many of us remember Fire Prevention as the day that the fire engine would come to the school, tell us not to play with matches, and send us off with a shiny new plastic fire helmet. Fire Prevention education has evolved into much, much more. Children today are acutely aware of the many dangers and hazards they may encounter, including fire. This can be attributed to the proactive approach of educating them early, and often enough for the message to stick.
The Hap Barnes Fire Safety Trailer is a great example of one of the tools that the Bristol Fire Department uses to educate the younger audiences. Used at schools and other community events, fire inspectors from the Fire Prevention Bureau use the trailer to teach the children how to be fire safe, how to get around in smoke, and how to safely exit their house or room if there is a fire. These are just a few of the lessons taught while going through the trailer. And don’t worry, they will get that shiny new plastic fire helmet too!
The trailer can be reserved on a first come first served basis by calling 860-584-7964 ext. 104.
The trailer is also available to surrounding towns, with the understanding that the local fire department supplies personnel to assist, and supplies their own handouts.