Perryville Fire Department Assistant Chief Bill Jones has been busy this week. Jones along with members of the Perryville Fire Department have visited local schools to talk with the students about fire safety and prevention during Fire Prevention week, which runs through Saturday.
While the week is technically called “Fire Prevention, ” Jones noted that it is about more than that.
“It’s a combination of fire prevention and what to do if there is a fire,” Jones said. “We stress escape routes, meeting places and for people to stay out of the building once they do escape, no matter what the situation may be. This goes for a home, schools, or a place of business.”
What Jones stressed the most about fire safety, was the idea of pre-planning.
“When it comes to escape routes, know where the exits and escape routes are as well as the alternate escape routes. Know how to get out of any place you might be in as well. Have it planned out in your mind in advance. Be aware of your surroundings.”
In this same vein, Jones discussed how important it is to perform regular drills whether that is in the home or school.
“Basically it comes down to knowing what you’re going to do before the incident occurs,” Jones said. “Being in the middle of a fire incident is not the time you want to be developing a plan. Fire dills are mandated in schools and they should be done in the home and make sure you have a meeting place that is agreed upon by everyone in the home.”
Jones mentioned other fire safety tips as well, which included testing smoke alarms regularly, keeping electrical cords out from under the carpet, not overloading electrical outlets, and the correct use of a space heater.
“The biggest thing with those space heaters is that they need space,” Jones said. “so don’t put them too close together.”
All this teaching is to set up the Perryville Fire Department’s Open House that will be Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Fire House #1. This will be the first time the department will host the event on a Saturday, instead of the customary Sunday.
“We will try it out and see how it goes,” Jones said.
Biehle Community Fire Protection will also host an open house on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Both events will have food and drinks as well as activities for kids such as a fire hose demonstration. There will also be information on fire prevention and fire safety.
“We hope that people will understand how to protect themselves and how to prevent fires from happening in the first place,” Jones said. “But if they do happen, then they know how to react and it out safely. We feel that fire safety is an important issue that gets lost and weeks like this help us educate the community.”