ABINGTON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Fires happen year after year, no matter how much prevention or work is done," said volunteer Chief Mike Jones with the Abington Fire Company.
Still, that doesn't stop firefighters and community activists from leading the charge to prevent fires. In fact, for the last 100 years, National Fire Protection Association has commemorated Fire Prevention Week in October.
This year's official slogan is, "Fire won't wait. Plan your escape." This motto is followed by the Abington Township Police Department, which promotes education at open house events and at school functions. Today, they met with Action News in a local resident's house to demonstrate some of the basics.
The first tip was to ensure that smoke detectors are placed on all levels of the house.
"You want to test at least once a month to make sure it's properly functioning and change the batteries twice a year," said Lieutenant Christopher Platz.
The fire company uses visual techniques, such as drawing a map of the house, to detail the various exits on a given floor. They also recommend that each family member marks a designating meeting place outside the home in the event of an emergency.
"And once you get out, you stay out until the emergency responders do get there," said Chief Jones.
This advice should be especially heeded by pet owners, who are never encouraged to return inside a burning home to rescue pets. Firefighters are equipped with protective gear that allows them to handle such pursuits.
Exits can be challenging from rooms on the second floor or higher. Firefighters may look to use the windows for a rescue. If thick, heavy smoke is billowing from the hallway, individuals should close the door and call 911 for help. It only takes one or two seconds to incapacitate someone who inhales it.
Additionally, the caller should provide as much information to the 911 dispatcher as possible. This includes the location of the fire and the location and number of individuals under the roof.
In addition to spreading education about fire prevention, the Abington Township Fire Department and its five companies are looking to recruit members to their all-volunteer force. Participants can see live-demonstrations and hands-on experiences at "The Firefighter Experience." The event takes place on Monday, October 24 and Wednesday, October 26 at 1176 Old York Road in Abington, PA.
Also, anyone interested in learning more about fire prevention can attend two remaining open house experiences. The Edge Hill Fire Company opens its doors on Friday, October 14 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm and the Weldon Fire Company open house is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 20, from 6:00p.m. to 8:00p.m.