In September 2006 we presented our first weekly article on fire safety in The Villager, now almost thirty months later we have arrived at our 100th article. You donít have to do the math, occasionally we do repeat a few articles. Especially those that deal with important topics such as smoke alarms and escape plans or when a severe case of writerís block occurs. The original goal of these articles was to use this space to remind adults that they need to take a more serious look at fire safety within their homes, not just when the kids come home from school during fire prevention week but all year long. I can honestly say that I think we have achieved this goal with many Russell families. We often receive comments from people telling us that an article reminded them to check their smoke alarms or inspired them to get off their butts and finally put together an escape plan. Small successes like these are great news to any fire department, knowing that one more family has done something to better their own safety makes the effort all the worthwhile.
When we first made the commitment to providing a weekly article I would be lying if I didnít admit that thoughts of biting off more than I could chew entered my head. How can I possibly come up with a topic based on fire safety every week? Letís face it, you canít remind people that they need a smoke alarm on each level of their home every week and expect that they will return to read the column. However, most weeks there seems to be a fire related topic in the news that we can draw from, unfortunately many of these topics come from fires in which people have lost their lives. The harsh reality with any fire service is that we learn at the expense of others, we practice our skills in fire fighting when a property burns, and society as a whole learns a hard lesson when someone loses their life because they didnít pay attention to fire safety. As we mentioned in a recent article; despite the ongoing stories about people dying in house fires, usually due to a lack of working smoke alarms, we continue to find homes; even in Russell, without adequate smoke alarm coverage. So having a reminder every once in a while may not be a bad thing.
An added benefit of these articles was to introduce the community to the firefighters of the Russell Fire Department. We are very fortunate to have twenty four members of our department that are very committed to the duties asked of them. Many small departments such as ours struggle to retain firefighters and have an even harder time finding replacements, this is not the story in Russell. Much of this is attributed to the wonderful support we receive from the community and local businesses. We would especially like to thank The Villager newspaper for providing the space for these articles, hopefully you will continue to visit this space for relevant fire safety information in the upcoming years.