Fire departments to spread word on prevention, safety

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Area fire departments have received some assistance in the promotion of National Fire Prevention Week, which this year is Oct. 6-12.

The Fort Scott Fire Department and Bourbon County Fire District No. 3 both recently received $200 mini-grants which can be used to purchase materials to promote Fire Prevention Week and fire safety. The grants are awarded by the National Fire Protection Association Fire Education Association of Kansas.

The Bronson Library and BCFD No. 3 will conduct an event at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Bronson Library/Community Center, 509 Clay St., Bronson, in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week. The theme for Fire Prevention Week this year is "Prevent Kitchen Fires - Get Cookin' with Fire Safety."

Hiattville Fire Station Chief Lou Howard said she has been working with the fire chief in Bronson on the event. Materials that have been purchased include banners, flyers, coloring and activity books for kids, and other hand-outs.

Bronson City Clerk Ellen Harper said she has also been helping plan the event.

"We hope that families (adults and children) will become more aware of fire safety and the need for volunteers on the fire departments all around the country," Harper said in an e-mail.

The Saturday event is scheduled to include information and demonstrations on fire safety in kitchens and other areas inside the home. Also to be discussed is fire prevention and what to do in case of a fire and information on what firefighters do and their gear and equipment. Fire trucks will be on display.

Kids will get to spray the water hose and be able to participate in various activities, and will receive their own fire hat and gift bags sponsored by the BCFD No. 3 Bronson Station and the FEAK grant. Kids may also enter a coloring contest, Harper said.

Families who bring cameras can take photos of their children with the fire truck. Free hot dogs and other refreshments will be served. Attendees may also enter a free drawing for prizes.

Howard said there will also be a table set up with information on preventing kitchen fires and other fires, a fire safety table and blood glucose screenings.

BCFD No. 3 consists of departments from Uniontown, Bronson, Fulton, Mapleton, Devon and Hiattville.

The FSFD also received a similar grant in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week that was used for the purchase of materials such as stickers, magnets, posters and books.

An open house is set to take place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at FSFD Station One, 1604 S. National Ave. This event will include fire trucks and equipment on display, an obstacle course, car seat checks done by the Fort Scott Police Department and refreshments, among other activities.

The FEAK assists communities in promotion of fire safety.

In an effort to help make Kansas communities safer, the FEAK awarded five free NFPA Fire Prevention Week In A Box (contents for 100 adults and 100 children) to fire departments in Kansas, agencies or organizations with a passion for fire prevention in 2013 - one award per department, agency or organization selected, according to www.feak.org.

Since 2009, FEAK has awarded 25 Fire Prevention Week grants to Kansas departments and organizations, the website said.

"Awards like this are a great way to get fire safety information to fellow Kansans," FEAK President Mike Hall said in a statement. "We applaud the safety and prevention efforts of all organizations who work to make Kansas a safer place to live."

During Fire Prevention Week, local fire departments will visit area schools and other locations with educational demonstrations as they work to spread their message of fire safety and prevention.

Howard said BCFD No. 3 will visit West Bourbon Elementary School in Uniontown on Oct. 15. That event will include the Galena Fire Department, which is bringing a fire safety trailer, presentation and program. There will also be BCFD No. 3 fire trucks and gear available and personnel will answer any questions from the public, Howard said.

The event begins at 8 a.m. and will last most of the school day, she said.

FSFD Chief Paul Ballou said firefighters planned to visit Fort Scott Christian Heights on Thursday and will begin visiting USD 234 public schools, as well as Christian Learning Center, area preschools and daycare centers, next week. At the end of October, groups of students will visit the fire station.

For the department's visits to local schools, firefighters take the Fire Safety House and will also conduct simulated 911 phone calls with students. Other activities include an escape out of a second story fire trailer and a simulated smoke machine piped into the fire simulation house which creates "more of a real effect," Ballou said.

"Kids can practice a 911 call and actually talk to a firefighter," he said. "They will ask regular questions a dispatcher would ask. And we'll do not only a 911 call for a fire but a police and medical call also."

Fire Prevention Week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that 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 Oct. 8 but continued into and did most of its damage on Oct. 9, 1871.

On the 40th anniversary (1911) of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (FMANA), the oldest membership section of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), sponsored the first National Fire Prevention Day, deciding to observe the anniversary as a way to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.

It was expanded to Fire Prevention Week in 1922. The nonprofit NFPA, which has officially sponsored Fire Prevention Week since its inception, selects the annual theme for Fire Prevention Week.