Fire Prevention Week only start of outreach
ROME — It’s National Fire Prevention Week and fire departments across the area and the country are spreading safety education about this year’s focus: planning your escape.
Meanwhile, the Rome Fire Department is spreading education all month long, with plans to grow their community outreach in the year ahead.
“We’re doing more of a bigger push in our department,” said Firefighter Leonard T. Cianfrocco, who is spear-heading fire prevention education for the department.
“Fire prevention is changing. It’s more community prevention and awareness. It’s not just about fires.”
Fire Prevention Week runs from Oct. 9 to 15. According to the Firefighters Association of the State of New York, this year’s main focus is “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.” In the event of a fire, you may have as little as two minutes to safely escape before the smoke becomes too heavy to see through. Fire officials want you and your family to plan your escape routes ahead of time so that you don’t waste precious seconds panicking or worrying about which way to go.
“It’s critical to plan and practice a home fire escape route. Everyone needs to be prepared in advance, so that they know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds. Every home is different, so every home fire escape plan will also be different,” said Ed Tase, President of FASNY.
“Have a plan that accommodates everyone in the home. Children, older adults and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Make sure that someone will know how to help them!”
A key part of every escape plan is to have a single rendezvous point that all people in the structure go to outside, officials said. Escape plans also depend on having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
New York State has the third most home fire fatalities in the country this year, behind only Pennsylvania and Texas, officials said.
Fire escape planning tips:
- Make sure your plan meets the needs of all your family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.
- Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound.
- If possible, know at least two ways out of every room. Make sure all doors and windows open easily.
- Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone should meet.
- Practice your home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the household, including guests. Practice at least once during the day and at night.
As with every Fire Prevention Month, the Rome Fire Department has been hosting tours of the Central Fire Station on Black River Boulevard for local school classes. City firefighters have also been going into the schools to teach fire safety lessons.
Firefighter Cianfrocco said the department is looking to expand these operations and to offer more classes and lessons to the entire Rome community.
“We want to have a greater role in the community,” said Cianfrocco.
“Our biggest asset to the community is fire prevention.”
Cianfrocco said the fire department is looking to bring fire education into schools all-year-round, not just during October. He said they will be working with the schools to try to match their fire safety lessons to existing curriculum. It’s around middle school-age when young people begin cooking in the kitchen, and middle school students could use a fire safety refresher, Cianfrocco noted.
They will also look into meeting with local high schools to offer possible career opportunities, he stated.
Fire prevention always starts with educating young children, and Cianfrocco said they are working to update their message to better reach the youth.
“We’re letting the kids know that they are the first steps,” Cianfrocco stated. “They pay attention more when you talk like that.”
Beyond the schools, Cianfrocco said the fire department is considering holding open houses at the fire station for the public several times a year. They are also looking to start up some classes at the station, from first aid and CPR classes for teenage babysitters to fire extinguisher use for businesses and workers.
One of the department’s “big pushes moving forward” is expanding their home inspection and smoke detector installation program, Cianfrocco said, which will also involve engaging the city’s children.
“We’re going to make sure every school-aged child in the Rome City School District has a working smoke alarm in their home,” the firefighter stated.
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