Fire Prevention Week: Training to Be Safe Warrenton Assistant Fire Chief Ken Smith didn't hesitate between classrooms when explaining just how crucial this week is.

By: Tim Schmidt
Posted 8/10/08

"Fire prevention is the most important thing we do as a fire department," he declared. Warrenton was joined by fire departments in Wright City and Marthasville in celebrating National Fire Prevention …

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Fire Prevention Week: Training to Be Safe Warrenton Assistant Fire Chief Ken Smith didn't hesitate between classrooms when explaining just how crucial this week is.

Posted

"Fire prevention is the most important thing we do as a fire department," he declared. Warrenton was joined by fire departments in Wright City and Marthasville in celebrating National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 5 through Oct. 11. Area classrooms were full of firefighters this week explaining the need to have a plan if any family members were caught inside a burning building and the need to have an outside meeting place if a fire occurs. Firefighters from all three county departments spent the majority of the week in classrooms teaching area youth the importance of fire safety. "Anytime the trucks go out the door is a testament to where something failed," Smith said. "Anytime you can prevent something that is a win-win for everybody." Smith taught students an extra step in the "stop, drop, and roll" routine should they catch on fire. He said they can't forget to cover their eyes, nose and mouth to keep their exposed body from suffering any further harm. "You have to put that step in that process or they will forget to do it," Smith said. Smith also stressed the need for homeowners to change the batteries in their smoke detectors twice a year when the time changes. He said 4,000 people die annually in home fires, in which 90 percent of the incidents could have been prevented with a working smoke detector. "That is a message we continue to hammer and preach," Smith explained. The Wright City Fire Protection District spent the week teaching students at Wright City Elementary. On Sunday, the department hosted an open house which included a live sprinkler demonstration. Fire Chief Brian Nickerson said the annual week to highlight fire safety continues to be important to his department. "If they take away one thing, they build on it every year," he stated. "By the time they get up to fourth or fifth grade, they will have all of it. It all goes together." The Marthasville Volunteer Fire Department used its time meeting with students to help establish a pipeline for recruiting future members. "We want to start them young and pique their interest in the fire department and on the EMS side," said Buddy Gildehaus, Marthasville assistant fire chief. "We want them to know a little about the fire service and EMS. We've picked up numerous recruits in the 18 years we have invited the students to the fire station." The Warrenton Fire Protection District will cap National Fire Prevention Week with an open house at its firehouse located on Fairgrounds Road this Saturday. The event, which begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until 1:30 p.m., will include station tours, equipment demonstrations and more safety features. Staff Writer Cindy Gladden contributed to this story.


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