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Shaw Fire Department hosts fire prevention week

Posted 9/6/2011   Updated 9/8/2011 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Todd Thompson
20th Civil Engineer Squadron

9/6/2011 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- It's Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!

Shaw Fire Department reinforces newer smoke alarm recommendations during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9 through 15, 2011

What's the best way to protect your family from fire? Be ahead of the game, of course.

According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association, more than 360,000 home fires were reported in the United States in 2009.

Your best defense is a good offense. That's why Shaw's Fire Department is teaming up with NFPA during the October 9-15, 2011 to let our community know: "It's Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!"

This year's campaign focuses on preventing the leading causes of home fires: cooking, heating and electrical equipment, candles and smoking materials. Additionally, it urges people to protect their homes and families with life-saving technology and planning.

"In 2009, 2,565 people died in home fires," said Cornelius Berry, Fire Inspector of Shaw AFB Fire Department. "Nearly all of these deaths could have been prevented by taking a few simple precautions like having working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan, keeping things that can burn away from the stove and always turning off space heaters before going to bed. Fire is a dangerous opponent, but by anticipating the hazards, you are much less likely to be one of the nearly 13,000 people injured in home fires each year."

Shaw Fire Department offers the following tips for protecting your home and family from fire:

· Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
· Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater.
· Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
· Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
· If you smoke, smoke outside.
· Use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table.
· Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.

"While preventing home fires in Sumter and Shaw AFB are always our number one priority, it is not always possible," Berry continued. "Sumter and Shaw AFB residents need to provide the best protection to keep their homes and families safe in the event of a fire. This can be achieved by developing an escape plan which you practice regularly, and equipping homes with life-saving technologies like smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers."

The following tips will help keep your family safe if there is a fire in your home:

· Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home (including the basement).
· Interconnect all smoke alarms in the home so when one sounds, they all sound.
· Test smoke alarms at least monthly and replace all smoke alarms when they are 10-years old or sooner if they do not respond when tested.
· Make sure everyone in your home knows how to respond if the smoke alarm sounds.
· Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible ways out. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.
· If you are building or remodeling your home, consider installing home fire sprinklers.
Shaw Fire Department will be hosting activities during Fire Prevention Week to promote

"It's Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!"

They will host an open house and demonstrate many of the safety tips previously discussed on Friday, October 14th from noon to 5 p.m. Residents can learn more about the power of prevention and available technologies to protect their own families from fire through these educational, family-oriented activities.

To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities at Shaw please contact the Shaw Fire Prevention office at (803)895-4600 or email To learn more about "It's Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!" visit NFPA's website at

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