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2013-10-12 at NOON

Firefighters turn to youngsters to help prevent fires

By Matt Vis,
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Local firefighters are hoping to use the youngest community members to spread awareness on how to prevent fires.

Members of Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue were at The Home Depot on Saturday with a pumper and a booth to help educate the public about fire safety and answer any related questions as part of Fire Prevention Week.

Fire prevention officer Paul Abernethy said displays such as this one are designed to engage children, and educate them as early as possible.

“We have packages we give out to kids, and we like to ask them some fire safety questions. We give them some fire safety materials to take home, and we emphasize the message with them and hope they get it through to their parents,” Abernethy said.

One such youngster who delighted in the opportunity to meet the firefighters and explore the truck was seven-year-old Timothy Wood.

His mother said their family has placed emphasis upon creating an education plan and educating the children on how to be safe in the home.

“It’s important for children, with so many being left home alone now,” said Patty Wood. “The kids know where to go outside and know how to call the fire department if we ever need it. They help cook and know how to be safe in the kitchen to help prevent fires as best we can.”

Abernethy explained that in terms of the cause of fires, the kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in any home.

“Cooking fires are the number one cause of fires,” he said. “The number one cause of fatal fires though is careless smoking. We also have a lot of electrical fires.

He added the best ways to ensure optimal kitchen safety is to not leave any cooking unattended, and to keep a large lid handy to contain any flare ups.

He also said every level of a home should have a functioning smoke alarm, and they should be checked once a year, and the batteries should also be replaced one a year.

The origins of Fire Prevention Week date back to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, where a massive three-day blaze destroyed a nearly six square kilometre area in the city.

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