Demopolis Fire Department recognizes Fire Prevention Month

Published 2:09 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October is Fire Prevention Month in Alabama, and the Demopolis Fire Department is reminding citizens to be safe as cooler weather arrives.

The state’s campaign is called “Turn Your Attention to Fire Prevention.” DFD Chief Tommy Tate said the Demopolis Fire Department averages 50 to 75 fire calls per year.

“It seems like a low number, but those calls are the highest risk,” he said. “When a fire breaks out, so many different things can happen.”

He added that there were 74 structure fires in 2011, 55 in 2012 and approximately 60 in 2013.

In the state of Alabama in 2013, fires claimed 81 lives. Across the country, fire departments responded to an estimated 1,240,000 fires, which resulted in 3,240 civilian fire fatalities, 15,925 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $11.5 billion in direct property loss. There was a civilian fire death every two hours and 42 minutes and a civilian fire injury every 33 minutes last year.

Home fires caused 85 percent of the civilian fire deaths, but fires only accounted for 4 percent of the 31,644,500 total calls departments received.

To change those statistics in a positive way, Tate said people need to have a plan in place in case a fire does occur.

“Some of the most important things people can do is to have a smoke detector that works, have a meeting place in case a fire breaks out and have a plan that everyone in the home, place of business or school knows,” he said. “Fire season is upon us with dryer weather, so we’re asking that everyone have a plan in case something happens.”

Tate also gave the following tips that could help you avoid a house fire:

•Clean your furnace before you turn it on for the first time this winter season

•Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire

•Keep a sturdy screen around your fireplace

•Never use your oven to heat your house

•Have your home inspected by a certified electrician

Tate said many of the fire calls they receive start as electrical fires.

Throughout the month of October, Demopolis Fire Department will be observing fire drills at different schools, as well as visiting schools and having classes visit the firehouse to teach students about fire safety and prevention.

Tate said a lot of times children will go home to parents after visiting with the fire department and ask questions about smoke alarms and what to do in case of a fire.

He added that the firefighters in his department do a great job of containing fires in small areas when they receive a call.

“I’ve got to give credit to the guys because when they go to a home with a small fire, it stays small and contained,” he said. “They’re a small group, but a well-trained group. I’m proud of the work they do.”