Fire Prevention Week in Sidney


By Amantha Garpiel - [email protected]



The Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services spent last week focusing on educating the community on ways to stay safe and prevent fires. Oct. 9 through 15 is National Fire Prevention Week and to prepare for that, the Fire Prevention Division of the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services spent the previous week visiting the elementary and middle schools in the district.

The Fire Prevention Division of the department focuses on investigations of fires and inspections of businesses and schools in the area to ensure that the buildings are compliant with the fire code.

“When there is an incident, we also go ahead and do investigations. From the inspection side, there’s prevention but then the investigation side is also prevention from the aspect that we can figure out what caused a fire or an incident,” said Deputy Chief Dallas Davis.

Other than inspections and investigations, the Fire Prevention Division provides education to the community. The division provides fire prevention information to both adults and students in Sidney.

A big part of their efforts includes visiting elementary and middle schools in the district to provide age-appropriate education on ways to stay safe should a fire occur in their homes. In Sidney City Schools district, the fire safety and prevention education with the department begins in Kindergarten with “stop, drop and roll” and varies based on the age groups up through fifth grade.

In first grade, students are taught the differences between a “good” fire and a “bad” fire. Davis explained that one of the examples used is a campfire. A campfire is an example of a “good” fire that can become a “bad” fire that can potentially become out of control if left unattended by an adult.

In second grade, the department teaches students how to call 911 and when they should use the emergency service. Third grade students are taught about the importance of a meeting place and an escape plan, which is the National Fire Prevention Association’s (NFPA) main focus for this year. Having an escape plan and meeting place increases a family’s rate of survival and helps emergency responders determine if everyone in the home has made it outside and away from the danger. For fourth grade students, the firefighters will bring students out to their trucks to show them various tools and combine all of the previous lessons given to the students to remind them of the various ways to stay safe. Then in fifth grade, the instruction becomes a “bit more real” according to Davis. Rather than a cartoon depicting a fire or a safety measure, the students are shown a video with real actors portraying what could happen during a house fire.

This year the NFPA is pushing the message, “fire won’t wait, plan your escape” for the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week. “Fire won’t wait, plan your escape,” is a message meant to remind citizens that a house fire can happen to anyone and it is always better to be prepared. Planning and practicing a home escape route in case of a fire could help reduce panic and help save lives. Along with pushing this message from the NFPA forward, Davis would also like to remind citizens of last year’s Fire Prevention Week focus, sleeping with bedroom doors closed.

“There has been plenty of research to show that when a fire starts outside your room, if the door is closed, you increase your chance of survival by keeping your door closed and keeping that fire outside of your room,” said Davis.

With it being Fire Prevention Week and nearly time to change clocks and smoke detector batteries, Davis would like to remind individuals and families to make sure their smoke detectors are working and have an up-to-date battery. The Sidney Fire Prevention Division offers smoke detectors, installation and battery tests/installation for free as part of their fire prevention activities.

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By Amantha Garpiel

[email protected]

The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Fire and Emergency Services Department, 222 W. Poplar St., Sidney.

The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Fire and Emergency Services Department, 222 W. Poplar St., Sidney.