The Maplewood Fire Department is observing Fire Prevention week and is reminding residents to change the batteries in smoke alarms while visiting schools to promote fire safety.
The Maplewood Township Committee read an official proclamation during a public meeting on Tuesday, Oct 1. Fire Prevention Week runs from Oct. 6 to Oct. 12. This year's theme is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”
The history of Fire Prevention Week has its roots in the Great Chicago Fire, of 1871. The fire rampaged for 27 hours, killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed more than 17,400 structures over 2,000 acres, the proclamation states.
Deputy Chief Joseph Callaghan stressed the importance of changing the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms when changing the clocks for daylight savings time. They should also be tested every month to make sure they are operational.
“Of the serious fires in Maplewood where there have been deaths and injuries, there were not working smoke detectors in the homes,” he said.
Fire Prevention Week is not just about reminding people to change the batteries, but is also about visiting elementary and middle schools to educate students on fire safety.
“What we enjoy most is getting out to each and every student in Maplewood and its rewarding to see how much we effect those young kids from kindergarten on,” said Deputy Chief Joseph Callaghan. “As you move up through their years of school, they remember more and more of what we tell them and that is very rewarding for us.”
The students always remember them and even 10 years later, students will come up to them and say, “you're the fireman that came to my school,” he added. “Its a week we truly enjoy because we get to get out to the children in town and see how much they appreciate it.”