(BLACK PR WIRE) (February 20, 2009) Someone in your family accidentally starts a fire … perhaps they fell asleep while cooking or didn’t know they had a faulty wire. What is the first thing you should do? Get everyone out of the house and call the fire department! A firefighter trained and equipped to rescue people from burning buildings and other situations will come to your rescue.
And African American firefighters have been doing just that! The International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters is comprised of 96 chapters and represents 5,179 fire service personnel.
The situation is typical. The fire department receives a call about a blazing fire. The firefighters arrive on the scene and find that there are occupants trapped inside that need immediate rescue. Exercising good judgment tempered by training and experience, they enter the structure and proceed to search for the trapped victims: they look in cupboards, closets, under beds, everywhere. Once they find the victim, they use special equipment, including a fire extinguisher, to put out the fire and rescue the person. Thankfully, they not only save the day, but they save someone’s life!
Firefighters have become ubiquitous around the world, from urban areas to wildland areas, even aboard ships! We can always count on them to come to the rescue!
Nevertheless, we need to be educated on how to prevent fires in the first place. Here are some fire safety tips from the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters:
• be prepared and make sure you have a fire extinguisher. Take time to read the label and get familiar with how to use it. The best time to learn how to use it is now, not during a fire.
• Make sure your smoke detector is approved by a recognized testing laboratory. Place detectors on the ceiling outside each bedroom and along escape routes. Install one on each floor of your home. Also, be sure to test detectors every month and change the batteries at least once a year.
• When it comes to electricity, avoid running cords under carpets or over nails. Avoid using extension cords as permanent solutions and check fuses to ensure they are the correct size.
• Be sure to keep a 3’ foot clearance between portable heaters and walls or other objects.
• Clean your fireplaces at least once annually to remove buildup that can lead to fires.
• Have an escape plan. Know at least two routes out of every room. Have an escape ladder available to climb from 2nd or 3rd floor windows. Stage fire drills and teach your children not to hide under beds or in closets. Also teach kids not to go back inside after escaping. Have a prearranged safe meeting place outside the home. Call “911” or your local emergency number as soon as possible after escaping.