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Schenectady Fire Department offers safety tips for Fire Prevention Month

Schenectady Fire Department offers safety tips for Fire Prevention Month

October is National Fire Prevention month
Schenectady Fire Department offers safety tips for Fire Prevention Month
Schenectady firefighter Josh Kruk talks Van Corlaer Elementary School students during a fire prevention demonstration Thursday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

SCHENECTADY — October is National Fire Prevention month, and the city Fire Department has launched a campaign to educate residents about how to stay safe. 

Some little-known tips: 

-- Flour makes cooking fires worse. 

-- Extension cords shouldn’t be used as permanent hookups: “They’re not designed to extend the electrical systems of a home,” said Deputy Fire Chief Don Mareno

-- All smoke detectors now sold in New York state must either be powered by a 10-year sealed and non-removable battery or hardwired into the home.

Fire prevention consists of three stages, Mareno said: Pre-plan, prevent and taking action. 

Homes should be kept free of clutter; dryer vents cleaned and furnaces maintained annually, and smoke detectors charged. 

Residents should review action plans in the event of a fire.

The city Fire Department is visiting schools throughout the Schenectady City School District this month embarking on an education campaign. 

Mareno said the education, especially how to react to a live fire, is critical for youngsters.

“We don’t want them to be afraid of us,” Mareno said. “We don’t want them running and hiding from us.”

The Fire Department also has a diversion program for adolescents at risk of setting fires.

The Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program, known as J-Fire, works with the school district, county social services and child protective service agencies to prevent those behaviors.

Mareno said the department is also aware that vacant and blighted buildings pose a fire risk, and the city is weighing the use of devices that can be installed in empty buildings that will detect movement and send data to a centralized location. 

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