OCEAN CITY — Just recently in Stamford, Conn. a raging fire took the lives of three children and two grandparents.
As a Town of Ocean City Firefighter/Medic, I am part of a department that focuses on community safety and when we hear of such news we immediately began to review our local community outreach efforts and what we can do to prevent such a tragedy on a local level.
It seems that when folks hear “Fire Safety Messages”, they feel as if they know it already and don’t need to follow simple safety tips that will save not only their lives, but their families. You would be surprised to know the number of times we walk into a home and find a smoke alarm on top of the fridge, lying on the table, or dangling from the ceiling by the wires, with no battery installed.
Every year in the United States, about 3,500 people die in home fires. Most of these deaths occur in homes that don’t have a working smoke alarm.
A working smoke alarm can help you and your family escape a raging fire. It can also help save the lives of firefighters who would otherwise have to risk their lives by searching a burning home for residents.
When your little ones lay their heads on their pillows, it’s important they have a smoke alarm that continuously scans the air for smoke, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will never sleep, even when you are. That is a comforting thought.
It’s also important as parents or older siblings to teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear the alarm sound. A smoke alarm and a home escape plan are vital links in the chain of survival from a fire.
The Ocean City Fire Department will continue to promote fire safety in the home. Please remember that while technology such as a smoke alarm is in your home, you have to maintain that technology (e.g. regular testing, replacing batteries, etc.) and incorporating planning and participation in their use will be the key to saving lives.
It’s simple: smoke alarms save lives. Do your part to get out, before firefighters have to come in.
(The writer serves as the public information officer for the Ocean City Fire Department.)