SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — John S. Hauschild, Sullivan County fire coordinator (53-1), summed up his take on “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.” That’s the campaign slogan …
SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — John S. Hauschild, Sullivan County fire coordinator (53-1), summed up his take on “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.” That’s the campaign slogan of this year’s Fire Prevention Week, which takes place from Sunday, October 9 to Saturday, October 15.
It’s sponsored by the National Fire Prevention Association.
“That’s a perfect statement,” said the 41-year veteran of the Jeffersonville Fire Department. ”You don’t know when fire’s going to happen; you should have an exit plan for your house; and you should practice it.”
Hauschild stressed that it’s all well and good to draw up an exit plan (details and examples are readily available from several sources online), but it’s important to practice your escape plan before disaster strikes. In a potentially deadly home blaze, you may have only minutes to act.
“Parents should practice with their children, and if you have elderly people in the house, you should practice with them as well. Find a [pre-arranged] meeting place outside, and the most important thing is once you’re outside, never go back in for pets or belongings,” he said.
“Once you’re out, stay out,” stressed Hauschild. He noted that in most cases, it’s safer to call 911 after you get out of the house, rather than take precious time to call for help before making sure everyone is safely outside of the burning dwelling.
In Sullivan County, a lot of fire departments band together to offer fire-prevention tips at local school districts. One example is the multiple departments that cover the Sullivan West Central School District (SWCSD).
Hauschild noted that the 12 departments that protect the SWCSD (Jeffersonville, Youngsville, Callicoon Center, North Branch, Hortonville, Callicoon, North Branch, Lava, Hankins, Lake Huntington, Narrowsburg and Long Eddy) are planning to present fire safety demonstrations at the elementary school.
Other local departments traditionally join together to present fire safety information at area school districts.
“Fire protection is not just during the month of October, it’s all year long,” said the county’s fire coordinator. “People should check their smoke [and carbon monoxide] detectors, fire extinguishers, have an exit plan and practice it. Just because you have an escape plan, it doesn’t mean you know what it is.”
Hauschild noted that the New York Office of Fire Prevention & Control, which operates under the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, is an excellent source of information pertaining to all-things safety.
That includes E.D.I.T.H., a step-by-step educational brochure covering exit drills in the home. (See link below.)
As with a large percentage of volunteer-based fire departments around the country, Sullivan County’s rural companies are in need of volunteers to join in service to their communities. The Sullivan County Bureau of Fire created a recruitment and retention task force to address this issue, and according to Hauschild, it has been “a huge success.”
Recent efforts to get the word out and “show the colors” have included fire-service recruitment presences at the Little World’s Fair in Grahamsville, the Bagel Festival in Monticello, the Bethel Lakeside Music Festival and at the upcoming Vet2Vet event on October 22 at the Grahamsville fairgrounds.
“We’re getting some interest, the chiefs are reaching out, and people are coming into the fire stations,” said Hauschild.
For information on E.D.I.T.H., visit www.dhses.ny.gov/fire-safety-and-prevention and scroll down to Home Exit Drills.
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