COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— October is National Fire Prevention Month meaning local fire departments are engaging in a number of outreach programs to educate their communities on best tips and practices to limit the chance of a fire.

Wednesday, Oct. 12, Division Chief of Columbus Fire John Shull joined WRBL live in-studio to raise awareness for fire prevention.

This month various divisions within Columbus Fire & EMS have visited elementary schools to share their message. Chief Shull shared more on the purpose of that outreach program.

“This is the time of year, October, when we’re in the schools. We get a lot of requests to come out to the schools. We kind of go after the five to 11-year-old category teaching them about fire safety, but also, they’re great messengers. I can tell you that with my daughter, she gets information, and she brings it back to me and she’s like, ‘hey, we’ve got to have a plan, right?’ So that’s exactly what we want to do. We want these children to come home and engage their parents,” he said.

This year’s fire prevention theme is, ‘fire won’t wait, plan your escape.’ Shull says their goal is to teach preparedness.

“Have a plan to get out of your house. Things that you need to consider if you’re on a second floor. You need to have two ways out. Maybe you have some sort of portable ladder they make those where it kind of unfolds out the window,” he informed. “That’s an option that you may have if you’re on the second floor but have a plan to get out and also have a designated place outside of your home. Maybe it’s the mailbox, but make sure it’s far enough away from your home that you’re out of danger. That gives your parents a place where, you know, they can get full accountability of the entire family.”

In addition to having an escape plan, families also need to be extra cautious during the colder season. According to the United States Fire Administration, while the number of fires decreases during the winter months, the number of structural fires rises. Things like space heaters and electrical blankets when used improperly or too long can spark a fire. If you can’t catch the fire before it happens, make sure your detectors are up to date.

“We want to have smoke alarms in every sleeping room in the house and certainly in the kitchen as well. You can have more now, but at least you need to have them in those areas. You need to check them twice a year. And I do want the community to know that we have a new website now. We think it’s a very friendly type of website. You know, it offers a lot of different options or features on there. One of them is that you can request a smoke detector, so you can go on our website on the home page. You can request that smoke detector,” he shared.

Requesting a smoke detector through their website is free of cost, and Columbus Fire & EMS will also come out to install it.

If you’re interested in inviting Columbus Fire & EMS out for Fire Prevention Month, or any other time of the year, you can also request a fire truck display on their website as well.

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