National Fire Prevention Week begins Oct. 6, but Bradley County Fire-Rescue officials will begin teaching local students a week early.
According to Chief Troy Maney of the Bradley County Fire Department, firefighters hope to reach more than 5,000 students beginning Monday, teaching them about fire prevention and safety.
“The cold weather is coming and we want to make sure families are safe. We will be going to 11 Bradley County schools to teach our youngsters to be safe, and in the event of a fire, to have a safety plan along with their family,” Maney said.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, a fire is reported every 23 seconds in the U.S.
More than 16,000 people died as the result of fire in 2012.
“It is our goal to keep the residents of Bradley County safe through education and if needed, by providing resources such as smoke alarm checks, installations and even being able to provide alarms to those who possibly can’t afford them,” Maney said.
In late 2013, BCFR new hires, which now man the three new fire stations as well as the pre-existing ones in Bradley County, combed communities in the eastern section of the county.
They checked smoke detectors and replaced dozens of them for residents.
It was reported earlier this year that the effort made a difference and saved property and at least one life when a smoke alarm alerted the resident about a fire in his home.
Cleveland Fire Department responded to put out the fire.
CFD Chief Steve Haun also said it’s just about time for area residents to be changing smoke alarm batteries and making sure furnishings and other flammable materials are moved away from space or area heating sources.
“Remember the ‘Three-foot Rule,’” Haun said.
Anything combustible, within three-feet of a heat source, is most likely to combust.
It has been several years since a fire death has been reported in Bradley County or Cleveland.
“Our department wants to work to educate the residents of Cleveland about the importance of fire safety. It doesn’t just happen inside the home either,” Haun said.
Area residents will be doing fall cleanup of leaves and debris, according to Haun.
Inside the city of Cleveland, the Public Works Department will be removing leaves and brush.
Open burning is prohibited in the city of Cleveland as per an ordinance passed by the Cleveland City Council in 2008.
Residents in the county are required to obtain burn permits through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Forestry Division.
Burn permits are required between Oct. 15 and May 15, yearly.
Residents can reach the Forestry Division by calling 478-0337.
Weather conditions apply to issuance of permits.