Fire Prevention Month

By Dave Gomez

The DeKalb and Sycamore fire departments are educating children on the basics of fire safety as part of October’s Fire Prevention Month.

“We don’t look at fire prevention as a one-month-out-of-the-year thing; we do things year round,” said Reuben Nelson, assistant fire chief in DeKalb.

Sycamore firefighters will visit schools to teach children fire safety, said Sycamore Fire Chief Bill Riddle.

Since all available fire engines and ambulance companies are dispatched too often to be able to make scheduled appearances at schools, school groups will visit DeKalb fire stations this year, Nelson said.

Firefighters merge education and entertainment during the meetings, teaching children the standard “Stop, drop and roll” procedure for putting out a fire, giving tours of the fire station and letting them try on firefighter gear such as coats and helmets, Nelson said.

“The kids really enjoy it,“ Nelson said.

Children visited by Sycamore firefighters will participate in fire drills, watch films and learn about the dangers of playing with matches, Riddle said.

The cause of fires isn’t always a carelessly placed cigarette or crackling fireplace.

Although the number of fires may have actually decreased in the past year, fires from candle use have grown, Nelson said.

“Candles have just become really popular over the years.”

People using candles should place them on non-flammable surfaces and make sure they’re all out before they go to bed, Nelson said.

A smoke detector can be critical in preventing fires.

Homeowners should change their smoke detector batteries at the same time they adjust clocks for daylight savings time, Nelson said.

Seventy percent of fire deaths are in dwellings that are missing functioning smoke detectors, Riddle said.