BEACON FALLS — Children and parents can see for themselves next week how quickly fire can engulf a room.
Members of Beacon Hose Company No. 1 will set fire to two rooms set up outside, one with a home sprinkler system and one without, during an open house for families at the North Main Street fire house, said Fire Capt. James Trzaski, who is also fire prevention committee chairman.
“Most people believe that they have over six minutes to get out of a building if the smoke detector sounded,” Trzaski said. “In this instance, they’ll see in front of their eyes that they have less than three minutes before the debilitating effects of carbon monoxide and fire gases will take over.”
With this live fire and more, Beacon Hose will launch National Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 7 to Oct. 13. The theme of this year’s fire prevention week is “Know 2 Ways Out.” According to the National Fire Protection Association, 85 percent of all fire deaths were caused by home fires in 2010. In that year, one home fire was reported every 85 seconds.
“In our everyday lives, it’s very obvious we get complacent with fire safety,” Trzaski said. “It’s often overlooked.”
Under the town’s operating budget, $2,500 was set aside for Beacon Hose to use for fire prevention, Trzaski said. That has enabled the company to buy more informational packets for children and fund the family open house, which includes a smoke trailer and fire extinguisher training.
Fire prevention already has begun.
April Apostolides, art teacher at Laurel Ledge School, has given the theme to students, and they are creating posters to reflect that saying, Trzaski said. Those posters soon will be judged for first, second and third place.
On the morning of Oct. 10, first place winners and their families can eat breakfast with Sparky the Fire Dog at the fire house before they are taken to school on a fire apparatus, he said. The other placed winners will receive gift certificates.
Firefighters then will visit with all grades to teach a fire prevention lesson at Laurel Ledge and at United Day School and Day Care.
That night at the fire house, Beacon Hose will host its first open house for families from 6 to 9 p.m. at 35 North Main St. There will be food, equipment demonstrations and training. It will feature an Escape Trailer from the Waterbury Fire Department, which teaches how to react when hearing a smoke detector and Fire Marshal Eddie Rodriguez will bring a state arson dog.
Beacon Hose will have an open house for senior citizens from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 12. This is funded through a grant from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Trzaski said. There will be food, speakers and computerized interactive trainers to learn how to use an extinguisher on a cooking fire.
Residents are asked to bring a nonperishable food donation at both open houses for the Beacon Hose fire police’s “Fill-A-Firetruck” Food Drive to benefit a local food bank.