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S.D. Fire Marshal: Know That Fires Can Start Anywhere
South Dakota Ag Connection - 10/09/2018

This year's Fire Prevention Week theme encourages people to be mindful that fires can start anywhere.

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 7-13 and will be observed by fire departments throughout South Dakota. This year's theme is "Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware -- fire can happen anywhere."

"It is easy to take fire safety for granted especially if we are staying in a new hotel or working in a new building," says State Fire Marshal Paul Merriman. "But it is important to be aware of your surroundings and know where the exits are if a fire starts."

Merriman says the three "L's" in this year's theme signify essential ways people can reduce their risk to fire:

- Look for places fire can start.

- Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.

- Learn two ways out of each room.

At the same time, Merriman says individuals and families should make sure they have two ways out of their home in case of fire. He says people need to remember that fires can start anywhere in the home due to an electrical problem or another issue.

"Families should hold fire drills in their homes at least twice a year; once during the day and another time at night," Merriman says. "It is important that everyone, especially children, know how to get out of a burning structure using more than one exit."

Another emphasis during the week will be the use of smoke alarms. Merriman says the importance of smoke alarms can't be stressed enough.

"We have seen too many house fires where there were no smoke alarms present or the alarms in the homes were not properly working," he says. "Smoke alarms can help save lives. But they do no good when not properly maintained."

Smoke alarm messages for this week include:

- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

- Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.

- Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.

- If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Go to your outside meeting place.

- Call the fire department from outside the home.

For more on this year's theme, click onto www.firepreventionweek.org .

The state Fire Marshal's Office is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

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