Bio photoAnother year almost has passed and the holidays will be here before we know it. At the Coconut Creek fire marshal’s office, we have had a busy and productive year, having finished the construction of Fire Station 50 on Coconut Creek Parkway. We are looking forward to reduced response times in the South Creek area.

Every year during October, the country recognizes Fire Prevention Week. The week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire that began Oct. 8, 1871. It consumed the majority of the city, killing 300 and leaving more than 100,000 homeless.

In Creek, we recognize the entire month as Fire Prevention Month and celebrate it by promoting fire safety to all residents.

We will participate in the Sound the Alarm, Save a Life campaign. Residents without a home smoke detector will receive free installation of one; simply email firemarshalcc@coconutcreek.net.

We visit each preschool and elementary school in the city with a fire truck and teach fire prevention training. We interact with the children and help them understand how to dial 911 for help, how to develop a home escape plan in case of a fire, and how to check smoke detector batteries.

We urge residents to use November’s return to standard time as a reminder to change their smoke detector batteries. A functioning smoke detector gives you the best chance to survive a home fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of every five home-fire deaths occurred when no smoke detectors (or working ones) were present. There are two types of smoke detectors: ionization and photoelectric. Ionization models detect flaming fires, such as those that occur in kitchens. Photoelectric models best detect slow, smoldering fires. We recommend purchasing a combination smoke detector that has both technologies.

If you would like to promote fire safety in our community, consider joining our Community Emergency Response Team, which always is looking for volunteers. Residents will be trained in CPR, basic first aid, fire extinguisher use and other lifesaving skills. They will become part of our team and, when needed, will be able to help their neighbors in an emergency. Visit coconutcreek.net/cert.