By NATHAN GREGORY
Fire Prevention Week begins Sunday, and Starkville Fire Department officials will visit schools and day care centers in the city throughout the month to educate students on the importance of escape planning and practice.
The theme for this yearâ€™s week, â€śHave 2 Ways Out,â€ť emphasizes the need for a backup plan in the case of a structureâ€™s main entrance being obstructed by flames, city Fire Marshal Mark McCurdy said.
â€śOctober is a good time of the year right before winter hits to go in and talk to everybody about the importance of fire safety and getting their smoke detectors fixed before winter hits when we see the majority of our structure fires,â€ť McCurdy said.
Fire Prevention Week is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association, which provides several tips for preventing conditions conducive to fires, including making sure that:
- Electrical cords are in good condition;
- Appliances and lights are plugged into separate electrical outlets;
- Clothes dryers have a clean vent and filter;
- Portable space heaters are 3 feet away from anything that can burn;
- All escape routes are clear of clutter and easily accessible.
McCurdy said those interested in reading more tips on how to prevent fires can visit http://www.nfpa.org.
SFD is also announcing a change in its free smoke detector program enacted by state fire marshals. McCurdy said those in need of a free smoke detector can call SFD at 662-323-1845 or visit Fire Station No. 1 to register for a free detector. Once a certain amount of people register, employees will come to residences and install them.
The department is introducing a program to provide free smoke detectors made specifically for the hearing impaired. The SafeAwake smoke detector emits a low-frequency sound audible to many of the hearing impaired, McCurdy said, and sets off a shaker that can be placed below a mattress that vibrates when activated. Residents with hearing difficulties who qualify can also receive detectors and have them installed free of charge.