By Amanda Amsel
In 2013 the total of fire deaths in Ohio dropped for the third year in a row and was the lowest in 27 years.
In an effort to continue this trend, Prairie Township firefighters are hosting an annual event aimed at educating residents about fire prevention.
Prairie Township Fire Prevention Month will take place throughout October in an effort to save lives.
“Last year we gave nearly 40 safety classes and reached approximately 2,900 students,” said Chris Snyder, township fire chief. “We plan to give just as many presentations this year and reach even more people.”
Township firefighters teach classes about smoke detectors, fire escape plans and other fire prevention tactics to students in local elementary schools, area clubs and at local libraries.
The department also uses educational outreach tools to educate children and their families about fire prevention. The Prairie Township trustees even recently approved spending $4,600 on these types of materials.
“In the past we have used this money for backpacks, plastic fire helmets and arm bands,” Snyder said. “This year we have talked about buying temporary tattoos and reflective slap bracelets.”
Officials hope these tools will help spark a fire prevention conversation at home, as well in the classroom.
“If we deliver a message and then hand out these items, the idea is the message with go home with the item,” Snyder said. “If we instill these ideas in children they will go home and talk to their parents about these issues. Kids can be very persistent and will make their parents check smoke detectors and create a fire escape routes.”
According to Snyder, the department also opens up their firehouses and allows children and their parents to take tours and gives away coloring books during the month.
Currently, the township has over 35 different presentations scheduled and is hoping to schedule even more.
“By spreading these messages we are creating a safer environment for township residents,” Snyder said. “Kids at this age are very impressionable, so if we can influence one child then it is worth it.”
To request a firefighter presentation, contact Snyder at 878-7100.