As we move into the winter months, and much cooler weather, all of us will be soon switching our thermostats to heat rather than cool. With that brings a number of hazards and situations that should be addressed in every home and preventative measures being done. Our change of the seasons also brings Fire Prevention Week in October and many of the hazards we may face can be addressed in just a few simple, preventative steps to make our homes and our family members safe. During October we strongly encourage all of our citizens to take a proactive approach to making your home or business fire safe. Here are a few basic items that should be checked:
Smoke Detectors- Assure that you have working smoke detectors in your home. Have them placed in areas that will alert you of any smoke in your home and especially in areas where people will be sleeping. It cannot be stressed enough the importance of early detection of smoke that enables the best chance for escape! If you already have detectors in your home, the batteries should be changed at least every year. Many smoke detectors are hard wired into homes, but also have a battery backup that needs to be changed to ensure it functions properly during a fire.
Furnace and Heat Sources-Prior to the use of any furnace or heating source being used make sure it is in proper working order and has been serviced properly. Make certain that all combustible materials are clear of any heat source prior to using it. This is especially important with portable heaters, candles and any type of scented plug in type air fresheners. Make sure all of these devices are not accessible to children due to the risk of burns and the chance of knocking them over onto combustible materials.
Have an Escape Plan- I know this sounds a little like the education you received in elementary school, but it is absolutely a life saver during a fire in a home. This important safety tip is often overlooked by many adults because most of us think that we know the layout of our homes well enough. Many fires produce thick, black, toxic smoke, so your normal orientation to the layout of your home needs to change from walking upright in your home to crawling on the floor to stay under the smoke and to be able to do it blindfolded due to lack of visibility. Identify at least two separate ways to get out of your home in case one is blocked.
Have Clear Pathways in Your Home- Having clear hallways and access routes will help you get out of your home quicker and will also help the Florence Fire Department find you quicker in the event you or your love one is unable to get out. Our main focus during a fire is to confirm that all residents are safely out of the house and out of harm’s way. Having clear pathways assists the first responders in getting everyone out quickly and safely and also helps them move quicker to find and extinguish the fire.
The Florence Fire Department operates two full time fire stations. They provide four person staffing on each piece of fire apparatus, two of which are Certified Paramedics. They are an “all hazards” fire department, meaning that they respond to any situation that is determined to be hazardous to life. The mission of the Florence Fire Department is to protect the lives and property of our citizens by providing the most modern, proficient Fire and Emergency Medical Services possible. They dedicate themselves to this challenge by planning for emergencies before they occur with an aggressive proactive program of Fire and EMS training, Life Safety Inspections and Public Education within the community.
The Florence Fire Department is always here to help you with any questions you may have regarding fire safety. They would welcome the opportunity to come to your home and give you any information you need or answer any specific questions you may have. Fire Administration is located at 72 E. First Street Florence, AZ 85132. The non-emergency phone number is 520-868-7609. Please call this number to schedule a home visit or if you have any questions that they can assist you with. For emergencies, please call 911.