A letter from the Carthage Chief during Fire Prevention Week

Many people think fire is something that happens to other people.
Unfortunately, this common misperception continues to put Americans at risk to fire each year, particularly at home, where people think they’re safest from fire but are actually at the greatest risk.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a home structure fire was reported every 86 seconds in 2015, with about 80 percent of all U.S. fire deaths annually occurring at home.
In fact, today’s home fires present increased risks to occupants. Newer homes are built with lightweight materials that burn faster than older home constructions. They also tend to be designed with open floor plans that enable fire to spread rapidly.
Meanwhile, many of the products and furnishings in today’s homes are produced with materials that generate dark, toxic gases when burned, making it impossible to breathe or see within moments. In short, home fires present a real risk that Carthage residents need to take seriously.
One of the most basic but vital elements of home fire safety is having a home escape plan that everyone in the household has practiced. In a fire situation, when the smoke alarm sounds, a practiced home escape plan ensures that everyone knows how to use the precious minutes wisely.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” works to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it.
The Carthage Fire Department wishes to reinforce those potentially life-saving messages. Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14, 2017.
As the Fire Chief of Carthage, I urge all our residents to use this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign as a reminder to develop a home escape plan with everyone in the household and practice it twice a year.
A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole, or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, we will host our annual Maple Leaf Safety Fair. This is our event to recognize Fire Prevention Week.
It is also our way of celebrating the upcoming Maple Leaf Festival. We invite everyone to come to the Fire Station at 401 W. Chestnut St. and enjoy some time checking out the equipment and exhibits. There will be several area departments here and it is always a good time for the kids.  Please come join us.
In closing I would like to say thank-you to the community that the Carthage Fire Department is privileged to serve.
Without your backing we would never be able to provide what we believe is an invaluable service to you.
We strive to bring to you the best emergency response possible. We thank you for the honor to serve.

Sincerely,
Carthage Fire Chief,
Roger Williams