Photos and Article By Zoe Roos, Staff Writer Zip06.com
Published October 18, 2016.
The North Madison Volunteer Fire Company invited residents to the firehouse on Oct. 16 to recognize National Fire Prevention Week. Firefighters held several demonstrations including a fire extinguisher demo, a Jaws of Life demo, and a live car fire demo.
October is fire prevention and awareness month. Each year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) chooses one issue to focus on, and this year it is smoke alarms. According to the NFPA, smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years at least.
North Madison Volunteer Fire Company President Paul Harris said the department hopes to raise awareness about proper use and inspection of smoke alarms.
“We have actually had, not in this department, but we have had people buy smoke alarms, put them in their closet, and then they don’t understand why they don’t work,” he said. “They never take them out of the box and they go well I had it in my bedroom—there is a little more to it than that.”
Fire Lieutenant Gabe Balsamo said in a statement that smoke alarms can be the difference between life and death.
“Time and again, I’ve seen the life-saving impact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but I’ve also seen the tragedy that can result when smoke alarms aren’t working properly,” he said. “That’s why we’re making a concerted effort to educate Madison residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit.”
Overall, Harris said Madison residents do a pretty good job of properly maintaining their smoke alarms.
“I think our community is pretty conscientious compared to some of the other towns and cities,” he said. “When we have responded, I would say in a majority of incidents the smoke alarm was doing its job.”
Lots of young children attended the demos held by the department. Harris said it is a good opportunity to show kids what firefighters really do out in the field.
“We are hoping to get them excited about it and maybe they will want to become future firefighters because we are always looking for the next generation to step in and take over,” he said.