Don't wait, check the date: Things to know about Fire Prevention - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Don't wait, check the date: Things to know about Fire Prevention Week

(Source: Jasmine Payoute/ KSLA News 12) (Source: Jasmine Payoute/ KSLA News 12)

Home fires are the biggest disaster threat in this country, according to the American Red Cross.

And most of them are preventable, officials say.

Oct. 9-15 is Fire Prevention Week.

Pat Dyas, chief of fire prevention for Shreveport Fire Department, said it was a mass fire that brought the week to life. “It started years ago when they had the great Chicago fire that burned down half the city. So they said we need a fire prevention week.”

During Fire Prevention Week, which falls in Fire Prevention Month, teams throughout the United States work to spread the message of fire safety.

“This week, we’ll be at several local schools putting on fire safety programs," Dyas said. "And every year, we do a smoke detector campaign where we go out and canvass the neighborhood.”

They hand out free smoke detectors and batteries and educate the community on the importance of keeping both up to date.

“Our goal is to install a smoke detector in every home in Shreveport that doesn’t have one.”

On Wednesday, the department brought its fire safety campaign to Goldman School.

Officer Jeffrey Witte, accompanied by Pluggie the dancing and singing fire hydrant, educated toddlers there about what they should do in the event of a fire.

“Can you boys and girls say that with Pluggie: Get out and stay out?” Witte asked them.

He also went over where to locate the smoke detector and said no toys should be grabbed in the event of a fire.

“These minds are very young, very impressionable. And so we try to press upon them that fire safety aspect,” Witte said. “So we’re teaching them at a young age, get out and stay out and not play with fire. So, hopefully, they can take that for the rest of their lives.”

Over at King’s Hardware on Line Avenue, Nick Mcelhatten shared information about smoke detectors tailored for adults. “Placement is important. You want to place it in areas the fire is most likely to start.”

He mentioned that homeowners with central air-conditioning should not place the detector near vents because it would blow away any sign of a possible fire.

Lastly, fire prevention is your responsibility.

“If you live in a housing complex, it’s the owner’s responsibility to change it; but, ultimately, it’s your responsibility," Mcelhatten said. "You never want to rely on someone else totally for your own safety.”

So what should you do?

Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year.

Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.

If you test your alarm and see that it needs to be replaced, the cost of a replacement ranges from $11 to $25.

Have an escape plan ready for the entire family. Ensure there are at least 2 ways out.

And with the holidays approaching, Dyas urges residents to not leave stoves unattended and to get their fireplaces and furnaces checked at least twice a year.

For more information, visit the Fire Prevention website.

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