Brookhaven Fire Department: ‘Learn the sounds of safety’

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Brookhaven Fire Department fire fighters are teaching preschoolers and kindergarten students the importance of fire safety.

This week is Fire Prevention Week, but BFD is taking the month of October to make sure children know what to do in case of a fire, smoke or carbon monoxide emergency. Some groups will visit the department, and fire fighters will visit other schools.

The 2021 theme is “Learn the Sounds of Safety,” and focuses on educating children and adults about smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms and the life-saving sounds they make.

For example, a single chirp from a carbon monoxide alarm every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced. If a smoke alarm issues a continued set of three loud beeps, it means smoke or fire. Get out, call 911, and stay out.

Smoke alarms should be tested once each month, batteries should be replaced each year, and the entire alarm should be replaced every 10 years.

Brookhaven Fire Department Chief Jeff Ainsworth said he is working to get more smoke detectors into his department that can then be offered free to residences without them.

“Then people can call us if they don’t have them, complete just a little bit of paperwork and we’ll come install them,” he said. “We’ve installed some in the past and then come back later and been told that the alarms have alerted the occupants when there was a fire. They work.”

There have been 58 fire deaths in Mississippi so far in 2021. In 34 of these cases, there were no working smoke alarms present.

“A working smoke alarm cuts your risk of dying in a fire in half,” said State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney. “Not having one, or many placed throughout the home, is simply unacceptable.”

“I’d say they probably cut your risk by more than that,” Ainsworth said. “They definitely save lives.”

Everyone who has any gas appliance — stove, water heater or even seldom-used fire logs — should have a carbon monoxide detector somewhere in the home, the chief said.

“As far as CO, you can’t smell it. The first signs are headache or nausea, and by then you’ve got a good bit in you,” Ainsworth said. “If you’re running anything with gas — and it needs to be vented — with time vents will get clogged and that CO will come back into the house.”

Brookhaven fire fighters now have testers on the trucks that enable them to be able to test for the presence of carbon monoxide.

“Just have (the detectors) in the house,” Ainsworth said. “They are very sensitive.”

The State Fire Marshal’s Office also recommends every family make an escape plan that includes two ways out, and practice it often. Make sure children and those who need extra assistance have someone to help them escape and set a location away from the home for everyone to meet in case of fire.