Government Police/Fire

West Hartford Fire Union To Host Open House during Fire Prevention Week

West Hartford Fire Department Engine No. 1. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Fire Prevention Week runs from Oct. 8-14, but due to budget constraints the observance will be modified this year.

By Abigail Albair, West Hartford Press Editor

Every second counts.

That is the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week, observed nationwide Oct. 8-14.

Traditionally, the West Hartford Fire Department hosts an open house Monday through Friday — one at each of the town’s five fire stations — during the week and invites the public to learn about fire safety and interact with local firefighters.

This year, as a result of the current fiscal uncertainty resulting from the lack of a state budget, the administration of the fire department made the decision to cancel the open houses due to budget constraints.

Firefighters will still visit West Hartford schools for education outreach as they have in the past, but will scale back on distributed materials.

In an effort to maintain community outreach during the annual weeklong campaign, the fire union in town organized their own event, which they say will be “bigger and better” than open houses in the past as all efforts are focused on one evening.

“Recognizing the impact on many residents and families in town that this fire prevention event has, the West Hartford Firefighters Association has opted to host a single Fire Prevention/Public Safety night,” Vice President of the firefighter’s union Joe Robidoux said.

The event will be held Wednesday, Oct. 11 at Fire Station #2 on Brace Road from 5 to 9 p.m.

Activities will include a fire hose demonstration, a demonstration on cooking fires, advice for building a safety kit, and other fire safety tips including burn care, Robidoux said.

At 7 p.m., firefighters will burn down a mock house.

Fire trucks and equipment are always on display.

“Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out! is the message of this year’s week.

“Plan two exits from each room, teach children how to escape on their own, close doors behind you as you leave and once you are outside, stay outside,” information from the National Fire Protection Association explains. “Practice your fire drill twice a year, once in the daytime and once at night. Be sure your house numbers are easy to see.”

Fire Prevention Week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of Oct. 8, 1871. According to the NFPA, “The fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began Oct. 8, but continued into and did most of its damage Oct. 9, 1871.”

Fire Prevention Week, sponsored by the NFPA, is the longest-running public health and safety observance on record.

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