Local fire departments visit schools, host tours for Fire Prevention Week

It may be called Fire Prevention Week, but DeKalb Fire Lt. Luke Howieson hopes people remember fire safety tips they’ve learned this week all year long.

The DeKalb and Sycamore Fire Departments are participating in Fire Prevention Week, which takes place from Oct. 9 to 15.

Howieson said the DeKalb Fire Dept. only visits schools upon request during Fire Prevention Week because of budget cuts. Elementary schools visit the fire station for tours, and the children receive information about fire safety, Howieson said.

Sycamore Fire Department secretary Becky Hepker said firefighters give station tours to kindergartners and second graders this week.

Following the tour, children are taught about fire safety and are asked to draw pictures of a fire escape plan when they get home.

Sycamore firefighters also visit fourth and fifth grade classes to show a video and to have an open discussion about fire safety, Hepker said.

Howieson said about 50 percent of reported fires in DeKalb are cooking fires. College students should make sure they don’t leave food they are cooking unattended, he said.

Other commonly reported fires are those involving careless smoking or overloaded electrical equipment, Howieson said.

Students should have a fire escape plan and should make sure smoke alarms are working properly, Howieson said. Some other fire safety tips are to use sturdy ash trays and to not overload electrical outlets, he said.

“I really hope that students learn that fire is a threat to them and that they should take whatever tips they can on how to prevent or react to a fire,” Howieson said.