Monday, October 1, 2012

Fire safety lessons-Free!!

As the calendar flips to October, we say goodbye to another National Preparedness Month. Of course, here at the Red Cross, we preach the importance of disaster preparedness all year long, but we wrapped up September with a Fire Safety Day event Saturday to help residents in Buffalo's Schiller Park neighborhood prevent and prepare for the most common disaster--house fires.

Sr. Director of Emergency Services Ken Turner discussing
fire safety with East Side residents 
Senior Director of Emergency Services Ken Turner got the morning underway by telling families enjoying some light refreshments at the Schiller Park Senior Center that almost a quarter of the approximately 400 fires we responded to last year occurred on the east side of the city. Lt. Harris from the Buffalo Fire Department discussed some important fire safety tips such as how to properly use a fire extinguisher. A woman then shared the personal story of how she lost everything when her City of Buffalo home was destroyed by a dryer fire a few years ago.

Then it was lesson time. Louise Porter and Nicole Roma let the children through activities such as a maze demonstrating the difficulty of finding your way around through a fire, while Denise Herkey-Jarosch led the adults through some disaster planning exercises. One of the highlights of the morning was the opportunity to walk the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control's "Fire Safety House", a fully functional trailer that, among other things, can fill with "smoke" to give people a realistic demonstration of how difficult it can be to see during a fire and why it's important to have an escape plan mapped out ahead of time.

Area children get an interactive example of smoky
conditions inside "Fire Safety House"
The most important part of the morning came at the event's end, however. Everyone who came to the program enhanced their newly-learned fire safety skills by taking home a free smoke detector, courtesy of the Children's Fire & Burn Fund. This organization has given away hundreds of thousands of smoke detectors in the past 20-plus years, and President Daniel Moran told us how 36 lives have been saved when these free units were the only smoke detectors in the house when a fire started.

The event may be over, but the work continues. Volunteers will soon be following up with event attendees to make sure the smoke detectors have been installed and to see if they have discussed disaster plans with their families or neighbors. And further down the road, numbers will be compared to see whether the program--co sponsored by the American Red Cross, Buffalo Board of Block Clubs, Buffalo CERT, Buffalo Fire Department, Children's Fire & Burn Fund and Schiller Park Community Services--reduced the number of fires in this community.

Next week is National Fire Prevention Week, so there's no time like the present to schedule a free disaster preparedness education program at your school, business or organization by calling Louise at (716) 878-2230, and in the meantime, click here for more information on home fire safety and prevention!

No comments:

Post a Comment