To enhance public awareness of the risk of fires during National Fire Prevention Week, Capt. Andra Hart of the Hinesville Fire Department is reaching out to schools and other agencies, offering classes on fire safety.
“We put all the classes out there that we offer to the schools and others,” said Hart, HFD public safety education coordinator. “We cover fires in the home, school, workplace — whatever. If a school requires a teacher to operate a fire extinguisher, we offer classes for that, too.”
Hart said most of the advertising his office will do to raise awareness for fire safety and Fire Prevention Week, which is Oct. 7-13, will be through alerts on www.cityofhinesville.org.
“We try to get the schools to not just focus on fire safety in October but to think fire safety year round,” he said. “We still teach kids to ‘stop, drop and roll,’ but one thing we’ve learned is to let the younger kids see us as we are before we put on our fire gear. Some kids are afraid of all that gear.”
He said they also conduct tours of the fire station for schools and allow the kids to hold the fire hose with a modest amount of water pressure running through it.
Hart said the most common type of fires in Hinesville are kitchen fires, which he said almost always involve an unattended pan or pot on the stove or in the oven.
He added that most of these fires are grease fires. He said he can’t recall ever hearing of kitchen fires caused by a Crock-Pot or microwave.
Hart recommends every home have a fire extinguisher for the kitchen that’s specifically made for kitchen-related grease fires.
He also advocated for a new product called “Stove Top FireStop,” which can be mounted above the stove. If a stove fire occurs, this fire suppressor automatically activates, limiting the amount of damage, he said.
Hart said homeowners should have smoke detectors throughout their house. Fire Prevention Week could serve as a reminder to change the batteries in their smoke alarms.
However, smoke-alarm batteries actually should be changed twice year, he said.
To schedule a fire-safety class or visit a Hinesville fire station, call the Hinesville Fire Department at 876-4143. For more information about Fire Prevention Week, go to www.nfpa.org.