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New York State Association of Fire & Lifesafety Educators

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A message from Vice President Rich Frasco


Fire Prevention Education, are you hitting all of the audiences?

      Typically, most fire departments spend the month of October each year with fire prevention open houses, details at schools, coloring contests and similar activities.  Some spread it out over the year, and are involved with activities such as replacing smoke alarms in housing for the elderly, doing free residential smoke alarm checks, handing out literature during fund drives  and so on.

      But how many times does you fire department or fire prevention personnel go into the local supermarket, home improvement store, senior complex or office building?  Per the 2010 NYS Fire Code Section 404, certain occupancies are required to have fire evacuation and safety plans available on site, and staff have to be trained on them.  Just imagine how bad it may be, if your local big box have everything store were to have a fire near the front.  How many individuals in there would know where to go to get out?  And more important, do the staff know what to do to ensure everyone is out? 

      Evacuation plans do not take a rocket scientist to develop, only some common sense and thought.  Your local fire inspectors should and most times will look at these during their inspection.  But depending on the type of business, or occupancy it may only be once every 3 years.  Imagine how much help your department may be in identifying possible issues before they cost a life, like obstructed or locked means of egress, blocked or missing fire extinguishers, non-functioning exit signs or hazards with combustible storage.  It is also a dynamite chance to get to know your local merchants, and see the layout of the store if an emergency should arise BEFORE it happens.  Get to know your local code official or fire inspector.  They can be a great resource for your department, and you for them.  Remember, you are all not only first responders, but also FIRST PREVENTERS.

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