Fire officials stress the importance of safety as Fire Prevention Week begins

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Sunday was the official start of Fire Prevention Week, a week when the National Fire Protection Association encourages fire departments to educate communities about fire safety.

Fire officials say during the fall and early winter, they see an uptick in brush and heater fires.

WFXR News’ Amanda Lee sparked up a conversation with area firefighters about how we can prevent a fire emergency.

“If you hear the beeps, that means to get on your feet,” said Deputy Chief Jason Friend of the Monelison Volunteer Fire Department. “If you hear the chirps, that means it needs to change.”

Friend stresses the importance of having operating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

“Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors have an expiration date, and it’s generally 10 years,” said Friend.

This year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.”

Friend urges, first and foremost, to make sure batteries are changed once or twice per year.

“If you’re going to do it once per year, at least do it at a landmark like spring forward or fall back,” said Friend.

You may not be inside during the time of a fire. After all, cooler weather brings folks outside for things like bonfires.

However, Joseph Saville with the Boonsboro Fire Department encourages community members to always make sure you have a source of water nearby.

“Whether it’s a bucket of water, hose pipe, something like that. Something that if something starts to run a little bit, you can get a handle on it and if need be, call us,” said Saville. “Another thing is to make sure you have all your dry bits of vegetation cleared out from the area.”

If you’re firing up the furnace or heater for the first time this season, Saville says to practice caution.

“We recommend following all the manufacturer’s recommendations as far as cleaning and inspections, replacing air filters. Things like that can cause dust buildups and other things that could really lead to fires.”

When in doubt, fire officials recommend calling your local fire department for guidance.

Fire departments are planning to visit schools, churches, and daycare centers this week to teach kids about fire prevention and safety.

If you are part of an organization that could use more information, just reach out to your local fire department.

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