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Fire chief reminds residents of Fire Prevention Week

Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services have responded to 46 structure fires in the community this year, resulting in property loss and, sometimes, serious injury or death.

Fire Chief Scott Lewis is reminding area residents about Fire Prevention Week, which started Sunday and runs through Saturday.

Pahrump fire crews also responded to various other fire calls including brush, rubbish and vehicle fires throughout the year, totaling 96.

This week, fire crews are focusing their attention on area schools, teaching students about fire prevention and safety.

On Monday, Lewis said crews visited Hafen Elementary on the valley’s south end.

“Fire prevention week is our opportunity to get out there and meet the kids and make sure they understand the message of fire prevention and then hopefully, they will take that back to their homes and share it with their siblings and parents,” he said.

Lewis said he and his crew are encouraging the kids to share the information with their parents relating to fire prevention and safety, as well as what actions to take if a fire breaks out in the home.

“We want them to use that as a reminder for their parents to especially replace smoke detector batteries and make sure the escape routes are still valid,” he said. “We are making sure they know there are escape routes in the home and how to ensure that the family meets up at a centralized location as pre-identified before a fire.”

Additionally, Lewis said aside from replacing batteries in the home’s smoke detector; it’s always a good idea to replace the smoke detector every 10 years.

He noted that determining whether a home had a functioning smoke detector following a fire depends on the severity of the fire, as the system may be destroyed by the flames.

“There are two different types of smoke detectors,” he said. “One of which is operated by batteries only and the other is a hard-wired detector which is part of the home’s electrical system with a battery backup.”

Lewis also said family homes should have more than just one smoke detector.

“You should have smoke detectors in various locations throughout your home,” he said. “If it’s an older home, you want to make sure to locate the smoke detector in each of the sleeping spaces as well as common hallways and the kitchen. Even the garage is helpful.”

Fire extinguishers, Lewis noted, should also be inspected regularly.

“You also want to make sure your fire extinguishers are checked and functioning,” he said. “You should make sure everyone knows where the fire extinguishers are and whether they are appropriate to the service that they would be providing in the area of the home.”

Traditionally, Fire Prevention Week coincides with the change from daylight savings time to standard time in the fall, which will arrive early next month.

“We will be turning our clocks back to standard time in about three weeks and that’s always a good reminder to check your smoke alarms to see if they are functioning properly,” he said. “That’s why it all coincides together, because it’s all in the same time frame.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval proclaimed the week of October 9-15, as “Fire Prevention Week,” in Nevada.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, dubbed, “Don’t Wait, Check the Date,” reminds homeowners to replace smoke alarms every 10 years, representing the final year of a three-year effort to educate the public about basic but essential elements of smoke alarm safety.

“With daylight savings time fast approaching, remember to change your batteries when you turn your clocks back,” said Mike Dzyak, interim state fire marshal.

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 event that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.

The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

For more information on Fire Prevention Week visit www.nfpa.org/

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes. On Twitter: @sharrispvt

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