Local fire departments celebrate Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13
Members of the Hills Fire Department are (standing, from left) Jon Gallagher, Paul Page, Dan Fick, Tiffany Spykerboer, Tim Durst, Mickie Mark, Mark Raymon, Jeff Bass, Mark Top, Keith Forshey, Collin Leuthold, Kelly Leuthold, Sean Goedtel, Justin VanMaanen, (kneeling) Lance Larson, Brian Kraayenhof, Mike Spath, Jared Rozeboom, Mark DeBoer and Derek Bundesen. Not pictured are Wade Jellema, Russ Schuelke and Stacen Burgers.

Area fire departments have had a busy fall putting out fires, planning for Fire Prevention Week and training on the ARMER radio system.

The ongoing drought has helped create several grass fires, including one in Steen on Sunday night.

They have also been planning for this week’s Fire Prevention Week. Departments in Hills and Beaver Creek both have activities planned for the week.

In Hills residents are invited to enjoy a pancake supper on Thursday night at the Hills American Legion. 

Residents can learn more about the importance of fire escape planning as well as the power of prevention. They can also get to know the local volunteer department members.

In Beaver Creek the department educated students at the Hills-Beaver Creek Elementary School during two events.

On Wednesday the Little Patriot Academy Preschool classes took a field trip to the Beaver Creek Fire Hall. Both the morning and afternoon classes had a tour of the hall, where they were shown demonstrations and had an opportunity to touch some of the equipment.

On Thursday afternoon members of the department will visit with students in the kindergarten class about fire safety.

Fire Chief Jeff Rauk says the goal of the visits is to help younger children understand that fireman, especially those in full gear, are not scary.

The Beaver Creek Department is also planning for a soup and sandwich  supper from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Beaver Creek Fire Hall. Proceeds from the event will be used for equipment maintenance and upgrades as well as the vehicle replacement program.

The activities locally are part of a national campaign organized by the National Fire Protection Association.

The theme for this year’s program is “Two Ways Out” and focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

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.

Tips for planning your family’s escape:

•Make a map of your home.

•Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room. 

•Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.

•Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan. 

•Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home. 

•Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday. 

To learn more about “Have Two Ways Out!” visit NFPA’s website at www.firepreventionweek.org.

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