Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Marshals sound alarm for fire prevention week

Area fire marshals are prepping for fire prevention week and urging the public to check their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, to set emergency meeting places and to keep fire extinguishers near fire-prone areas such as kitchens and garages.
The National Fire Protection Association begins its annual Fire Prevention Week next Monday, a nation-wide program designed to educate children and adults about the dangers of fires. This year's program focuses on preventing burns and keeping homes safe from the leading causes of fires -- cooking and heating equipment.
In Stamford, Deputy Fire Marshal Ted Panagiotopoulos said his office is handing out door hangers reminding residents of one- and two-family homes to install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Panagiotopoulos said fire marshals normally only inspect three-family homes and that this program allows them to reach out to smaller homes to urge them to keep tabs on their fire prevention methods.
He said Stamford fire marshals will also visit children and teach them to develop escape plans with their families in the event of emergencies.
Panagiotopoulos advised residents to keep fire extinguishers near kitchens, laundry rooms and utility rooms -- all potentially hazardous areas.
Chief Denis McCarthy of the Norwalk Fire Department said smoke detectors should be put in every bedroom of a house, not just hallways. That way they'll be able to wake up children, seniors and other sound sleepers, he said.
He said the importance of fire prevention week lies in the message it sends to residents -- that 2,755 people were killed in fires in the United States in 2008, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
"We've certainly seen our fair share of that in Norwalk over the past year," McCarthy said, referring to the fire that killed two Burwell Street residents in May.
The Norwalk Fire Department will hold its annual open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Fire Station Headquarters at 121 Connecticut Ave. The event features hands-on demonstrations. For more information, call 203-854-0238.