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Idaho fire departments stresses importance of homeowner fire prep

The city of Twin Falls declared Oct. 8-14 as Fire Prevention Week, and the fire department urges homeowners to have two ways out of every room

By Heather Kennison
The Times-News

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — When a fire burns through a room in less than 5 minutes, every second counts.

That's the key message Twin Falls Fire Department wants to share with homeowners. On Monday, Mayor Shawn Barigar will sign a proclamation recognizing Oct. 8-14 as Fire Prevention Week. This is the first time the city fire department will host events in recognition of the week of preparedness.

Homeowners should plan to have two ways out of any room, Fire Marshal Tim Lauda said.

"Today's homes are made with lightweight construction, so they burn extremely fast," he said.

Home furnishings also produce significant amounts of toxic fumes. A house fire can double in size in less than a minute.

From October 2016 to Sept. 28, 2017, the Twin Falls Fire Department responded to 170 building fires, including 30 house fires.

On Friday, firefighters received a call about a structure fire at 535 Main Ave. W. When they arrived, they discovered that some food had caught fire in an oven and was contained within the oven. There may have been some smoke damage inside the house, Capt. Devin Slagel said.

"There's always the possibility it could have extended outside the oven," he said.

Firefighters used a water extinguisher to help put it out.

If unattended or unnoticed, house fires can quickly turn deadly. In 2015, they resulted in 2,560 civilian deaths across the U.S. -- 78 percent of all U.S. fire-related deaths that year.

There are ways to increase your safety in case of a fire. Lauda said smoke detectors should be functional and homeowners should replace batteries twice a year.

Identifying two exits out of every room will also speed up escape time, and households should practice an evacuation drill two times a year, Lauda said.

Fire prevention open houses

The Twin Falls Fire Department will host two open houses from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 10 and Oct. 12 at Fire Station No. 1, 345 Second Ave. E.

Each event will have free blood pressure checks, fire prevention material and tours of the station. American Red Cross has provided 120 smoke detectors, which Lauda and a local Boy Scout have offered to install.

"If people sign up, we will install smoke detectors in their house free of charge," Lauda said.

Chobani will provide free yogurt and Pizza Pie Café has donated pizza for the events.

"I'll furnish the cookies and punch," Lauda said.

Copyright 2017 The Times-News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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