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WES students learn fire safety

Oct. 6-12 is known nationally as fire prevention week, so Russellville Fire Department is taking the month of October to educate the public: “Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practice your escape.”

The fire department is hosting a series of events to educate on the dangers of house fires while teaching what people need to look for when trying to escape from a house fire.

“We always tell people they need to have a meeting place set up,” said Russellville Fire Department Chief Joe Mansell. “This way, if there is a fire, and your mom notices you’re not at this tree, she knows you still need help.”

The Russellville Fire Department spent fire prevention week meeting with 35 classes from West Elementary School and taking them through the fire safety house.

Russellville Fire Department fire marshal Justin Green said the students begin their time by watching a video on fire safety before practicing an escape from the fire house. Students are able to experience escaping through a window while Halloween smoke fills the area to simulate a real fire. 

Mansell said the fire house door can be heated to allow students to simulate checking a door to see if a fire is on the other side of the door.

After ending the week at West Elementary School, the fire house traveled to the Spirit of Hodges Festival before spending the remainder of the month going to the different schools in Franklin County to continue teaching fire education.

On top of educating children about fire safety, the fire department is also encouraging everyone to make sure they have smoke detectors on each floor of their house. Smoke detectors are available at the Russellville Fire Department, and firefighters will even come out to a house and make sure the detector is properly installed.

About seven people die in a house fire each day, according to a fire prevention press release. 

“These numbers show home fires continue to pose a significant threat to safety,” said Lorraine Carli, National Fire Prevention Association’s vice president of outreach and advocacy. “In a typical home fire, you might have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely, from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.”

Russellville Fire Department also kicked off its seventh annual fire prevention poster contest for students at Russellville Elementary School. This began Oct. 1, and judging will take place later this month. The winners of the poster contest will be announced Nov. 4 at the Russellville City Council meeting.