Fire dept. to educate city on escape plans

By Susie Snyder

“Play It Safe…Plan Your Escape!” is the theme for Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 5-9, said DeKalb Fire Chief Alan Berg.

Berg said planning a way of escape now, before the fire, is essential because by the time the smoke alarm sounds, it is too late to stand around trying to figure a new way out.

Since 1979, nine DeKalb residents have been killed by fire, and most of these fires were in dwellings with poorly-installed fire detectors, Berg said. He stressed that smoke detectors must be checked often to be sure they are in proper working order.

esidential fires in single-family dwellings are the highest cause of death in the United States every year, Berg said.

“We know how to fight fires, but we want the people to get out ahead of time, we don’t want to have to rescue anyone, and we don’t want anyone to fight fires themselves,” Berg said.

Berg said the DeKalb Fire Department will stress these facts to schools, retirement homes, churches and businesses this week at scheduled meetings and assemblies which will target each group.

Elementary school students will be introduced to the “smoke monster” (a fireman in complete gear), to deter any fears of firemen, Berg said. He said in time of fire, a fireman wearing a gas mask could really scare a child.

Children will also be taught the “Stop, Drop and Roll” method of extinguishing fire, and how to crawl low on the ground to prevent smoke inhalation, Berg said.

Berg said older students and adults will be shown a movie, “Fire Power,” which shows an actual house fire and the devastating effects it can have in just a short period of time.

The fire department had a special meeting with NIU Resident Assistants, giving demonstrations with fire extinguishers, and stressing the discouragement of false alarms, Berg said.

esidence halls are a special concern for careful escape planning, because the fire hoses only reach the fifth floor, Berg said.

In addition to assemblies, the fire department will conduct fire drills during the week, and will have tours of the fire station throughout October and early November, he said.