FORT LEE, Va. – A variety of fun and educational fire safety activities are slated for children and other community members throughout the coming month, with most them occurring during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 6-12.
The event lineup includes the popular Child Development Center visits. Each occasion features a story time with Sparky the Firedog, a safety house and fire truck exhibit, and fire extinguisher training for employees. Four community center visits also are planned. These will include the fire truck and safety house display, and handing out promotional material.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week message is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape; Plan and Practice your Escape!”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, building occupants only have about one-or-two minutes to evacuate upon hearing a fire alarm because of how quickly smoke and heat from a fire can reach dangerous and potentially lethal levels. The short escape window is a bigger concern at night when families are asleep and will likely be slow to respond to an alarm. More than half of residential fire deaths occur between 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Another factor is the surprising number of homes that do not have properly functioning smoke alarms because they have not been installed or maintained. In those situations, families will not be alerted until they smell smoke or see fire, which means they’re already in serious danger. According to the NFPA, 62 percent of fire deaths last year occurred in structures without working smoke detectors.
A third important consideration is children who can easily get confused in an emergency situation and hide versus escape, according to experts. It is vital for parents to teach youngsters how to react and where to go. Encourage them to get involved by helping to draw up floor plans and designate at least two escape routes out of the home.
The following tips from ready.gov/home-fires also should be considered:
- A secondary route might be a window onto a neighboring roof or a collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows.
- Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be fully opened.
- Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed, as well as the “stop-drop-and-roll” techniques to save yourself if clothing catches fire.
- Teach children not to hide from firefighters.
The upcoming events at Fort Lee are not only a good opportunity to introduce kids to the first responders who will come to their rescue if a fire occurs, but also gain additional knowledge about fire safety and prevention.
Firefighters will partner with Fort Lee Family Housing for the annual Pumpkin Patch celebrations each Thursday night in October. During the CDC visits, the first responders will hand out fire safety books to the youngsters, and one firefighter will read it while Sparky the Firedog sits with them.
The full agenda of fire protection activities in the coming month is as follows:
Oct. 2, 9:30 a.m.: Fire Prevention Week Proclamation Signing, CDC Multipurpose Gym
Oct. 3, 4:30-6 p.m.: Pumpkin Patch and Fire Prevention Display, 465 New York Drive, Washington Grove/Monroe Manor Community Center
Oct. 7, 9:30 a.m.: Fire Engine/Sparky Visit, bldg. 10610, CDC Yorktown
Oct. 7, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Static Display at Main Exchange
Oct. 8, 9:30 a.m.: Fire Engine/Sparky Visit, bldg. 10620, CDC Battle
Oct. 8, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Static Display in Defense Commissary Agency Cafeteria)
Oct. 9, 9 a.m.: Fire Engine/Sparky Visit, bldg. 10622
Oct. 9, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Static Display at Defense Contract Management Agency
Oct. 10, 9:30 a.m.: Fire Engine/Sparky Visit, Bldg. 10624
Oct. 10, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Static display at CASCOM, bldg. 5020
Oct. 10, 4:30-6 p.m.: Pumpkin Patch and Fire Prevention Display, 46 St Lo Road, Jefferson Terrace/Harrison Villa Community Center
Oct. 11, 9-11 a.m.: Static Display at Commissary
Oct. 17, 4:30-6 p.m.: Pumpkin Patch and Fire Prevention Display, 342 Manila Road, Adams Chase and Madison Park Community Center
Oct. 24, 4:30-6 p.m.: Pumpkin Patch and Fire Prevention Display, 800 Jackson Circle, Jackson Circle Community Center
To contact the Fire Prevention section, call 804-734-6597. For Fire Prevention information, visit the NFPA website at www.nfpa.org/public-education.