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3 fire depts. to hold program

Published October 11. 2011 05:01PM

Three fire departments will be joining together for a Fire Prevention Week program tomorrow in Lehighton.

Then on Thursday night, the Franklin Fire Department is planning an event which includes auto rescue simulation utilizing a Jaws of Life tool and a MedEvac landing is scheduled.

The Lehighton, Franklin Township, and Mahoning departments will host an event from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Lehighton Fire Department, 140 S. Third St.

Steve Ebbert, public relations coordinator for Lehighton Fire Department, said the Franklin Fire Department will be bringing it's Safe House to the Lehighton event.

Also in Lehighton, the Mahoning Valley Fire Department will conduct fire extinguisher training.

Fire equipment and apparatus will be on display from each of the three departments.

On Thursday, Franklin is having its open house from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Featured will be the auto rescue demonstration, the MedEvac landing, representatives of the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency, personnel from the Eastern Pa. Emergency Medical Service Council and the Lehighton Ambulance Association.

"Most important, your local firefighters will be on hand to answer your questions and offer practical advice on how to stay safe in our community," Ebbert said.

Ebbert explained that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is utilizing the theme, "It's Fire Protection Week. Protect Your Family From Fire."

"This year's campaign focuses on preventing the leading causes of home fires cooking, heating, and electrical equipment, as well as candles and smoking materials," he said. "Additionally, it urges people to protect their homes and families with life-saving technology and planning."

Ebbert, who is also a lieutenant for the fire department, stated, "In 2009, 2,565 people died in home fires. Nearly all of these deaths could have been prevented by taking a few simple precautions, like having working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan, keeping things that can burn away from the stove and always turning off space heaters before going to bed."

He added, "Fire is a dangerous opponent, but by anticipating the hazards, you are much less likely to be one of the nearly 13,000 people injured in home fires each year.

Thomas Chew, a lieutenant with the Franklin Township Fire Department, commented, "While preventing home fires is always our number one priority, it is not always possible.

"Local residents need to provide the best protection to keep their homes and families safe in the event of a fire. This can be achieved by developing an escape plan which you practice regularly and equipping homes with working smoke alarms."

Mark Hayman, second assistant chief of the Mahoning Valley Fire Company, reflected on this year's calls.

"Each of the departments recently responded to house fires in their communities that may have been prevented if simple guidelines would have been followed," he said.

The guidelines are:

• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.

• Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.

• Replace or repair damaged loose electrical cords.

• Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.

The three fire department officials also urged that smoke alarms be installed inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home.

Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and replaced when they are 10 years old or sooner if they don't respond to testing.

Ebberts urged, "Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible ways out. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, making two ways out of each room, including windows and doors."

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