Among the eight fire station open houses in Arlington being held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, the open house at Fire Station No. 6 may be the county’s most elaborate.
Located on the Arlington-Falls Church border at 555 N. Washington Street, the station’s open house will include a mock structure fire demonstration, an auto extraction demonstration and a K-9 demonstration.
From a press release:
The Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department (FCVFD) and the Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) will co-host its annual Fire Prevention Week open house on Sat, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. All activities will take place at Fire Station No. 6, located at 555 North Washington Street (VA Route 29) on the Arlington-Falls Church border.
This is the Department’s largest public education and fire prevention event of the year, focused on providing the citizens of the community with important safety information. Hundreds of citizens, including many local families, attend the event yearly to learn about the department’s operations, training, and equipment, as well as to learn how to take steps to prevent fires and other hazards.
A silent auction with donated items from local businesses will be held during the open house. Proceeds of the silent auction will go towards training and equipment for FCVFD personnel.
Fire Prevention Week is an American tradition inspired by the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred during the second week of October in 1871. Each year, the National Fire Protection Association and its members promote a special fire safety message. This year’s theme is “Have 2 Ways Out!”
Several activities are planned which will include both FCVFD and ACFD personnel:
- Station Tours
- EMS Demos (Advanced and Basic Life Support)
- Engine/Truck/Aerial Demo
- Mock Structure Fire Demo
- Auto Extrication Demo
- K-9 Demo
While firefighters are a critical part of a safety team, all residents must take an active part in safeguarding themselves and family members by thinking through a home escape plan in the event that fire strikes. Incidents such as the Chicago fire are rare today, but in 2010, 19 home fires killed five or more people. These 19 fires resulted in 101 deaths.
In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage. Every household should have a plan and each occupant should know at least two ways to escape in the event of a fire. Practice the plan and establish a meeting place outdoors at a safe distance from the dwelling.
Many fires build up over minutes or even hours, eventually reaching a point where they spread very rapidly. A smoke alarm can alert residents who can put their escape plan into practice before a fire causes serious injury or property damage. Many homes where fires occur have smoke alarms, but they are old or in need of batteries. Fire Prevention Week is a good time to test your smoke alarm. Install new batteries at least once a year and replace alarms that are more than ten years old.
Recently, there have been stories in the news about smoke alarms not working properly. Two types of smoke detection technologies are in widespread use. Each one has a different reaction time, based on the type of fire:
- Photoelectric devices react faster to slower, smoldering fires that have larger particles – for example, a cigarette in a couch cushion or mattress.
- Ionization devices react faster to rapidly-spreading fires that have smaller particles – for example, a grease fire on a stove or wastepaper basket fire.
Additional recommendations from the Arlington County Fire Department
- Have at least one alarm on every level of the house and one in each sleeping area.
- Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.
- Test all home alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice a year when the clocks are changed.
- Families must familiarize themselves with the dangers of smoke and fire and exit plan and to teach children what to do if the alarm sounds.
- Plan and practice home fire drills so every member of the home understands how to get out quickly if the alarm sounds.
- Write the date on the battery with a permanent marker as a reminder when the battery was changed.
- In addition to smoke detectors, all homes should also have carbon monoxide alarms.