Fire Prevention Month may have come and gone, but let’s take a moment to reflect on the dedicated efforts fire departments across the country, and right here at home, took to educate the public on the leading causes of fires and how to respond in an emergency. The Valley Stream Fire Department took their task seriously and with impressive resolve, getting kids excited about fire safety by hosting interactive fire safety education lessons.
“Our firefighters traveled the village teaching children what to do in case of a fire,” said former Captain Brian Grogan. “They went to nine grammar schools and taught roughly 1,400 children and almost 300 adults.”
At Valley Stream District 24, for example, students watched a firefighter get into full uniform. Students were also able to take turns sitting in a firetruck and learning about each of its tools, gaining insights into the vital resources firefighters have at their disposal when responding to emergencies.
“Our students were thrilled to meet local firefighters and gain valuable knowledge about fire safety,” said Superintendent Unal Karakas. “We extend our gratitude to the entire Valley Stream Fire Department for taking the time to engage with our students.”
The department also offered other surrounding departments a crash course in using their training smoke trailer. Safe to say, the community was in more than capable hands entrusting the department to make the most of this monthlong event.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading causes of home fires often involve electric appliances: unattended oven fires, electric failures, and heating equipment malfunctions.
And the devastating toll left in the wake of fire incidents remains an ongoing threat. In 2019, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1.3 million fires, causing 3,700 civilian deaths and $14.8 billion in property damage. The hope is that by raising awareness and promoting preventative measures, communities can do their part in significantly bringing down these alarming numbers.
To be better prepared to prevent and handle fire emergencies, have a fire escape plan in place for your home, make sure your smoke alarms are in working order with routine battery changes, normally once a year, and learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher. And if you’ve been inspired to lend your strength in actively fighting back flames alongside fellow fire firefighters, “we are always looking for new members,” said Grogan. “Stop by a local firehouse or contact us on social media to hear about incentives like tax breaks and college tuition reimbursement.”