The Norman Transcript

October 9, 2013

Firefighters raising awareness

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Norman firefighters are raising awareness for two causes this month because October is National Fire Awareness and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Fire Marshal Fred Henderson said Norman firefighters will be outside of the westside Walmart with their Exit Drills in the Home (EDITH) trailer for children.

Henderson said the trailer is set up like a house with a living room, kitchen and bedroom areas, and firefighters will give fire safety tips to those touring, so they can equate it to their homes.

Part of the tour will be a simulation with a fog machine mimicking smoke. The children will simulate a fire drill in which they are asleep in their bedrooms, hear a smoke detector go off with the “smoke” or fog machine, and then crawl out of the trailer at the nearest exit as they would in a real fire, Henderson said.

“I think it helps them,” he said. “They’ll be familiar with different areas of the home as far as fire safety goes and learn some things not to do and things to be aware of.”

The EDITH trailer will be set up at Walmart from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday. Henderson said the trailer is set up for children from kindergarten to about third or fourth grade, depending on the child’s size and mental capacity.

Continuing with Fire Awareness Month, firefighters will visit county schools throughout October with the trailer, Henderson said.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, almost 365,000 residential fires are reported in the U.S. every year.

While the frequency of fire deaths has steadily decreased over the past 10 years due to increased awareness and safety measures, more than 2,400 Americans still die every year in home fires.

To help avoid a fire in the home, some steps include:

· Keeping items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.

· Never smoking in bed.

· Turning off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep.

Homeowners are advised to install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area and to install new batteries every year. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

Going pink: Norman firefighters also are going pink again this year to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On-duty firemen will wear pink T-shirts with their blues to raise awareness.

T-shirts also will be available for the public to purchase. Last year, T-shirt profits allowed them to donate about $3,000 to the American Cancer Society to support the cause.

“We’re hoping to at least double, maybe triple that this year,” firefighter Brian Edwards said. “It’s a good cause. Everybody seems to like it, and the firemen really seem to enjoy it.”

The shirts will be available at Fire Station 7 any day of the week, seven days a week, Edwards said. The public is encouraged to purchase shirts during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Short-sleeved shirts are $15; long-sleeved shirt are $20.

Jessica Bruha