Photo courtesy of Sigel Volunteer Fire Department

Pieces of the Past: Fire Safety

November 1, 2023

A few years ago I needed a small stool. A little stool I made in 7th grade shop class would work perfectly. It wasn’t anywhere to be found. When I asked my wife where it was, tears came to her eyes.

“I was using it for a footstool under my desk at Dodd Farms. It burned up in the fire back in 1983,” she said.

People who suffered through a fire can tell stories like that all the time. October is National Fire Prevention Month. National Fire Prevention WEEK is generally the 2nd week of the month.

Warren County has lost hundreds of homes, barns, and businesses to fire. The local fire departments try their best to educate people about fire safety but fires still happen. I was a volunteer firefighter for Columbus for 15 years. Along with fire prevention, I learned about how to soften the blow of a fire. In honor of all the fire departments in Warren County, here are my fire safety tips.

Have regular fire drills! Teach your kids how to get out and where to go if a fire breaks out. Fire usually doesn’t come with a warning ahead of time! Therefore have fire drills often and at times least “expected.”

Take inventory. Take photos of things like appliances, furniture and important possessions. The more you can prove what you had before a fire, the better. That goes for paintings, family photos and heirlooms. If it’s important to you, take a pic of it!

You won’t have time to dress for a midnight fire. Stash a change of clothing in the trunk of your car or in a shed or garage. Store some cash, a few things to eat and particularly gloves, coats, boots and outerwear. Check the stash often and make sure that the clothing still fits!

Photocopy your drivers’ license, car registration, social security card, insurance cards, all the documents that you might need to replace. This is a good idea whether you have a fire or not! Your computer probably has lots of things you want to keep. Copy programs and digital documents onto a thumb drive.

The best way to recover from a fire is to have as many backups as possible. Remember, it’s not the government’s job to keep track of you. It’s yours.


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