"Get out and Stay out!’ is theme for national Fire Prevention Week
SUMMIT COUNTY – “Get Out and Stay Out” is this year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week, which runs through Saturday.
The theme is based on one of the directives in Exit Drills in the House (EDITH), which outlines what people need to do to safely evacuate a burning building. It’s one of many things firefighters from throughout Summit County have been teaching elementary school teachers this week.
EDITH involves five safety steps: knowing two ways out of a house, get down low on the floor and crawl beneath the smoke to get out, meet with other family members in a predesignated area, let people know you’re out and don’t go back in the house.
“So many times, people realize the place is on fire, they get out fine, then they remember a pet or a favorite toy or some valuable – material stuff – and they lose their lives trying to go and get it,” said Deputy Fire Marshal John Young of Snake River Fire District. “It’s important that once they evacuate, they stay outside. Don’t go back in. When we get there, if anything can be saved, we’ll get it.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are no statistics about the number of people who die when they return to a burning house to retrieve something.
“But if it’s one or more,” Young said, “it’s too many.”
EDITH is one of the numerous activities elementary school students will learn this week. Other activities show children not to be afraid of firefighters and encourage students to involve their parents with steps to make their homes safer.
Fire Prevention Week began after the Great Chicago Fire on Oct. 8 and 9, 1871, when 250 people were killed, 100,000 were left homeless and 17,400 structures were burned.
Despite educational efforts and improvements in technology and fire suppression techniques, America records an average of 1.7 million home fires each year.
Each fire department is holding an open house this week, and each will feature an array of activities. Smokey the Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog will make an appearance at each department, and, depending on the fire district, firefighters will show participants how to make their kitchens safer, offer them the opportunity to crawl under artificial smoke to simulate an escape from a house and teach people how to stop, drop and roll to extinguish clothing if it catches fire.
At the Red, White and Blue Fire Department, firefighters will show citizens how they get injured people out of crushed cars, demonstrate the proper use of a fire extinguisher, offer people wildfire prevention information and take people on rides in the bucket of the 100-foot aerial ladder.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or
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