- Special Sections
- Public Notices
National Fire Prevention Week, observed Oct. 4-10 this year, is fast approaching, making it an opportune time to salute volunteer firefighters who protect our lives and property.
Fire Prevention Week has been around decades and has its roots in the Great Chicago Fire of Oct. 7-8, 1871, that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 people homeless and destroyed more than 17,000 structures.
President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation in 1920 and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which Oct. 9 falls.
Many of us take local fire protection for granted, assuming the men and women who belong to our local fire departments will appear when we need them. They always do, but we shouldn't forget that these community heroes are volunteers who step away from jobs, family and other responsibilities to answer the fire call. They put their lives on the line and tragically some give the ultimate sacrifice to their friends, neighbors and communities. I'm reminded of that when I see the Fireman's Prayer, often posted in fire stations. One common versions reads as follows:
When I am called to duty God. Wherever flames may rage. Give me strength to save a life. Whatever be its age.
Help me to embrace a little child. Before it is too late. Or save an older person from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert. To hear the weakest shout. And quickly and efficiently. To put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me. To guard my neighbor and protect his property
And if according to your will. I have to lose my life. Bless with your protecting hand. My loving family from strife.
Being a volunteer firefighter isn't a glorious job. Behind the scenes are regular training that takes even more time from personal lives and fundraising to generate money for equipment, trucks and other expenses.
Perry County is fortunate to have dedicated firefighters on call around the clock, ready to respond when needed. They are well-trained and well-equipped.
Perry County is served by Tell City, Cannelton, Troy, Rome, Anderson Township and Central Perry fire departments. Though located in Spencer County, New Boston and St. Meinrad departments also serve areas of Perry County.
Fire safety and prevention should be year-round topics of concern, but Fire Prevention Week offers a good opportunity to remind everyone of the steps we can take to lessen the chance of falling victim to fire. Look for fire hazards in and around your home. Here are just a few.
Keep matches and lighters away from the hands of children. Check for frayed power cords or overloaded electrical outlets.
Make sure there are working smoke alarms in bedrooms and hallways and if you're not sure when the battery was last changed, swap it out with a new one now. Many people replace smoke-alarm batteries when changing their clocks twice a year.
Consider purchasing fire ladders for second-story rooms. Teach your children escape routes from their bedrooms and practice those plans. Keep flammable materials away from clothes dryers, radiators, stoves, ovens and furnaces. Simple steps such as regularly removing lint from around clothes dryers, including the vent hose, can lessen the chances of something going wrong.
Is there at least one fire extinguisher in your home? Has it been checked lately? Consider extinguishers for garages, basements and kitchens, places where they can be accessed quickly, while fires are still small and containable.
Do you burn wood in a stove or fireplace? Clean your fireplace chimney at least once a year. Simple steps such as these and others can prevent fires. Local firefighters would rather spend their time practicing how to fight fires than battling real ones. That's what National Fire Prevention Week is all about.