Preventing the loss of life and property from the effects of fire s the ultimate goal of the Avon Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau. The core efforts in achieving this goal are focused on both building inspections and public education programs.
The fire prevention program begins with the city fire marshal, who is responsible for plan review, fire protection system acceptance, maintenance and testing, special event planning as related to Life Safety and the Ohio Fire Code, scheduling and inspection assignment for the company officers and public education.
Shift officers and their respective company members were responsible for conducting 410 inspections in 2005, 576 in 2006 and have an estimated 630+ scheduled for 2007. Each company captain and lieutenant is required to become a State Certified Fire Safety Inspector. They conduct each building inspection with the on-duty personnel present. The purpose of this is twofold. First, each business is inspected for fire and life safety violations and if found, business owners are educated to both the problem and why it is necessary that they comply with the code. Second, with the entire company present, they are able to familiarize themselves to the uniqueness of the different structures visited. Items such as building construction and make up, the presence of fire suppression equipment, hydrant location, number of employees, type of business, etc., are jut a few of the elements that are noted and discussed during an inspection.
In addition to the regular inspection duties, the companies utilize public education opportunities through Fire Prevention Week at the schools, Safety Town, attending various community events, appearing at block parties and conducting station tours.
Fire safety tips for keeping you safe in your home:
1. Smoke Detectors: Place a minimum of one on each floor as well as one in close proximity to all sleeping quarters. Test the operation of each smoke detector using the “test” button once a month. Remember to change the batteries each Daylight Savings time change. Free smoke detectors are available to Avon residents at the fire department.
2. Carbon Monoxide Detector: Have a good quality CO detector located within the living quarters of your home. A “plug-in” type is recommended for greatest reliability. Test the CO detector once a month using the manufacturer's recommended procedure.
3. Fire Extinguisher: Have a household quality ABC-rated fire extinguisher located close to the kitchen. Inspect the extinguisher once a month and replace it using the manufacturer's recommended procedure. If you have to discharge the extinguisher, call the fire department to ensure the fire has been completely extinguished.
4. Fire Escape Plan: Have a plan. Know what to do before your smoke detector sounds. Get together as a family and develop a fire escape plan for use in your home. Establish two ways out from sleeping rooms, set a meeting place, who will contact the fire department once you are out, what to do if you are trapped by fire and never, under any circumstance, go back in the house. Once your plan is in place, practice it on smoke detector test night. Practice the plan regularly. Free literature on developing your plan can be obtained at the fire department.
5. Fire Escape Ladders: A vital second way out in many houses with upper-floor sleeping areas is by way of a fire escape ladder. Like the fire escape plan, practicing with your ladder will help you when it is needed.
6. Child Locator Stickers: Placing a child locator sticker in your child's window will help the fire department to rapidly locate the child's room. Remember to remove the sticker when you move the child's room. Free child locator stickers are available at the fire department.
7. Wood Burning Appliances: Have your chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected by a reputable chimney sweep prior to the fall burning season. The use of “cleaning logs” is not effective enough to remove creosote the build up. Gas-fired fireplaces will not build up creosote, but can become clogged with soot and other materials. Inspect these appliances also.
8. Furnaces: Have your furnace inspected by a reputable heating company prior to heating season. HVAC Technicians are trained to inspect the inner-workings of the furnace and ensure that it is tuned up and operating both safely and efficiently. Keep all combustibles at least 36 inches away from any furnace. Visually inspect the flue pipe for signs of leakage, damage, corrosion and see that the connection to the chimney is sealed and in good repair. Hot water tanks should be treated in the same manner as your furnace.
9. Flammable Liquid Storage: Never store flammable liquids such as gasoline, diesel fuel or kerosene in the house. Keep flammable liquids in reasonable quantities, usually 5 gallons is sufficient for the average household. Store the liquids in UL-approved containers specific for the flammable liquid (red=gasoline, yellow=diesel, blue=kerosene). Never mix fuel containers. Placing gasoline in a kerosene can and accidentally using it in a kerosene appliance can have deadly effects. Keep all flammable or combustible liquids such as thinners and paints in their original containers with lids on tight and far away from any ignition source.