Fire stations across Fairfax County will host open houses this weekend for National Fire Prevention Week.
National Fire Prevention Week, which started on Sunday and lasts through Saturday (Oct. 7 - 13), is an annual public awareness campaign to promote fire safety throughout the United States. Residents will be able to stop by their local station on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to enjoy a host of activities and displays from firefighters and paramedics with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
During the open houses, firefighters will teach residents about how to prevent fires and fire injuries in the home. Burke has a volunteer fire station, station 14, located at 9501 Old Burke Lake Rd.
The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week is “Have Two Ways Out” and the campaign seeks to educate residents on the importance of fire escape planning and practice. A news release from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department states “nearly 3,000 people die in home fires each year.”
The U.S. Fire Administration additionally offers the following tips:
- Immediately Leave the Home: When a fire occurs, get out fast: you may only have seconds to escape safely. Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low, under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. The smoke contains toxic gases, which can disorient you or, at worst, overcome you.
- Never Open Doors that are Hot to the Touch: When you come to a closed door, feel the doorknob and door to make sure that fire is not on the other side. If either is hot, leave the door closed and use your secondary escape route. If the door feels cool, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present. If you can't get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors to keep the smoke out. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.
- Designate a Meeting Place Outside and Take Attendance: Designate a meeting location a safe distance in front of your home. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Make sure everyone in your home knows how to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number and that your house number can be seen day or night from the street.
- Once Out, Stay Out: Remember to escape first and then notify the fire department using the 9-1-1 system or proper local emergency number in your area. Never go back into a burning building for any reason. Teach children not to hide from firefighters. If someone is missing, or pets are trapped inside your home, tell the firefighters right away. They are equipped to perform rescues safely.
How fire-safe is your home? Find tips on how to conduct a fire-safety walkthrough of your home on the Fire Administration’s website.
To learn more about fire prevention go to www.firepreventionweek.org.