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Guest Column: Fire Department Open House Means Fire Prevention Week is Back!

In recognition of National Fire Prevention Week, the Burnsville Fire Department Open House is Thursday, Oct. 11, according to guest columnist and Burnsville Fire Marshal Lee LaTourelle.

One week of fire prevention just isn’t enough. Take it from me—as Burnsville’s Fire Marshal, I make fire prevention a full-time job. While preparing for the unexpected is difficult—taking action, doing what you can and making a plan can save lives.

Next week, Oct. 7-13, is National Fire Prevention Week. As I’ve mentioned, I’d prefer if fire prevention were top-of-mind more than once a year—but Fire Prevention Week is a good opportunity to put it to the forefront. Take some time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, change their batteries and practice your fire escape route. And don’t forget—stop by the Fire Department’s Annual Open House.

In recognition of National Fire Prevention Week, the Burnsville Fire Department Open House is Thursday, Oct. 11, from 5:30-8 p.m. at Fire Station No. 1, (911 W. 140th St. between Target and Kohl’s in Burnsville.) Families are invited to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the fire station; meet firefighters and public safety personnel who work to keep the city safe; explore fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles; and take part in a number of interactive fire demonstrations.

The Fire Department will also offer tips on how you can keep your family safe from fire. One of those tips is to “Have 2 Ways Out,” the theme of this year’s National Fire Prevention Week. It focuses on the importance of planning and practicing your escape in the event of a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, one home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010. That’s 369,500 home structure fires in one year—
which caused 13,350 injuries and 2,640 deaths.

The numbers are scary, but there are things you can do to help ensure your family’s safety should a fire break out in your home: For starters, have two ways out!

If you have children:

  • Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.
  • Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.
  • Remind kids that it’s OK to dial 9-1-1 during an emergency.
  • Sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape drill.
  • Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and practice the drill twice a year.

If your family is all adults:

  • Walk through you home and identify two ways out of each room.
  • Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home.
  • Practice your escape drill twice a year.

This Fire Prevention Week, stop by the Burnsville Fire Department for the annual Open House festivities, and make fire prevention one of your TOP priorities! For more information visit www.burnsville.org/fire or www.firepreventionweek.org.

—Burnsville Fire Marshal Lee LaTourelle

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