Ouachita Fire Dept. teaches safety for National Fire Prevention Week

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OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - The Ouachita Parish Fire Department is teaching kids at local elementary schools how to prevent house fires this National Fire Prevention Week.

Harris points out another tip to the kids. (Source: KNOE)

OPFD fire prevention officer Dusty Harris says it's important they learn this information now while they're young. "It's important to start when the children are young to start putting these fire safety message in them, so they will actually live them out and keep themselves safe,” Harris says.

He says you can never practice fire safety enough. So he and others are taking students through the drills to make sure they're ready for any emergencies. The department uses its safety house to teach kids everything they need to know about preventing and escaping fires.

It starts with a working smoke detector. "We want to make sure they have working smoke alarms all throughout their house. So, if there is a problem, they have early notification which will give them time to escape."

Harris and others also teach safety measures, like unplugging appliances and keeping pot and pan handles inward, not hanging over the edge. This prevents small children from reaching up and bringing down the pots and everything inside.

In case there is a blaze, they also practice how to escape. They remind kids to stay low when moving around. Always making sure there's always at least two ways out is important too. These can be doors or windows.

Another trick officers teach kids is to judge the temperature of doors with the back of their hands. If the door is hot, there’s likely fire in the other room, so it’s best to leave the door closed and try to escape another way.

However you can make it out, make sure you’re at a safe distance from the fire. Harris says everyone should go to a designated safe meeting place to be accounted for. Never should anyone go back into a fire to get anybody else or anything.

Harris also says local fire departments will put up smoke detectors in your home and also provide free fire safety checks as well.

You can call the Ouachita Parish Fire Department at (318) 325-1621 or your local fire department to learn more.