Fire Prevention Week Begins in Chattanooga
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Today marks the start of Fire Prevention Week.
Members of the Chattanooga Fire Department, the Alhambra Shrine Highlanders Pipes and Drums, and Mayor Andy Berke gathered this morning for the kickoff.
Fire Prevention Week actually lasts all month in Chattanooga. Firefighters will use the month of October to highlight fire safety messages in the community and in schools spreading that message throughout the week.
Fire Marshal William Matlock said, “This gives us an opportunity to get out into the public, and really focus on spreading the fire safety message. Also, we were here today to honor those – the firefighters who have uh perished or who have passed away in the past year in the history of the department”.
In addition to teaching fire safety in elementary schools, Matlock said many students in local schools, from kindergarten to high school, will be participating in a poster contest. The winners will receive gift cards from Walmart, and the overall winner will have his or her poster prominently displayed on a billboard for a month.
This year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week is: “Every Second Counts…Plan 2 Ways Out!” Matlock said that in the event of a fire, you must get out quickly.
“You have less than two minutes to get out safely once a smoke alarm sounds,” said Matlock. “Make sure you have two ways out of every room, and practice your escape plan with everyone who lives in your home.”
The Fire Marshal wants everyone to have a working smoke detector in their home and know what to do when the alarm sounds.
Matlock said Chattanooga has had four fire-related deaths so far this year, and we’re just now heading into cold weather. “Most home fire deaths happen when people are asleep, between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.” said Matlock. “Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, and please practice your escape plan. It could save your life!”
Mayor Berke said firefighters have a very important mission, but our citizens need to know how to respond in the event of a fire too. “We’ve had several fire-related fatalities this year,” said Berke, “and one important safety tip is that once you get out of the home that’s on fire, you never go back in.”
Berke is referring to the fatal fire September 17, 2017 at 1218 Judys Lane in Lookout Valley. Charles Vaughn went back into his burning home and did not survive. He was 72.
*Photos by Bruce Garner