Fire Prevention Week | Fire Department offers education, information

Freddie Firefighter helps to education kids for Fire Prevention Week

Fresh off its increased outreach at the Harvest Festival, the Piedmont Fire Department is back with plans for national Fire Prevention Week Oct. 6-12, including a promoting a series of videos that could save lives.

The theme for this year’s prevention campaign is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” works to educate everyone about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.

The campaign includes “Videos on home safety awareness for kids. We’d like families to sit down and watch them together,” said Piedmont Fire Chief Bret Black. “There’s a lot of good information and advice for kids and adults as well.”

They include basics such as making an escape plan in the event a fire does start and simple steps such as closing bedroom doors when the household goes to sleep.

The  “Close before you doze” campaign is featured in a video by Underwriters Laboratory that  “Shows how the impact for survival changes by closing the bedroom door before you go to sleep,” Black said. “It sounds like a little thing. But the video dramatically shows how the impact changes when the door is closed by slowing the spread of a fire.”

Closing doors is also important for lessening the circulation of toxic smoke.

“Smoke is going to carry into a room first,” Black said. “Closing the door is going to reduce toxic chemicals. Today’s synthetic furniture is is far different than furniture 50 years ago. The materials used now produce toxic gases when they burn. A couple of breaths of that, unfortunately is not going to be a good outcome.”

The Piedmont department will be out during Fire Prevention Week bringing their message to kindergarten to fifth grade children in the city’s Schoolmates program.

“We will be going to Schoolmates sites and handing out age-appropriate safety kits, Black said, including fire safety-themed coloring books and crayons for younger children, and a small backpack with information on deliberate actions that can be done in the home, such as setting up an escape plan, for older kids.

“Kids are more involved and eager to learn if they are part of the process,” Black said, and are also good at delivering the message to their parents.

“We want to be more proactive as the first step in a mass market campaign,” he said. “Next year I can see doing more to reach these kids. I can see collaborating with schools and other children’s programs.”

The community was receptive to the department’s increased presence last month at the annual Harvest Festival, which may become PFD’s big outreach of the year.

“I think the Harvest Festival was the right recipe for us,” Black said. “It’s probably what we’re going to do going forward and I think it’s going to become our legacy event. We’ll be participating in a significant manner.”

Fire Prevention Week was originated by the National Fire Protection Association in 1922 and was made a national observance by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925.

“Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage,” the NFPA says on its website ( “This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.”


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