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October is here, the leaves are turning, the days are colder, and it’s time for Fire Prevention Week. This campaign of fire prevention was established in remembrance of the Great Chicago fire that occurred October 8th thru the 10th in 1871, which took the lives of more than 250 people and left at least 100,000 homeless. Fire Prevention Week this year is celebrated October 8th thru the 14th and this year’s message is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” This year we hope to reinforce why it is so important to have an escape plan for your home in case there’s a fire. So here are a few tips to get you started on a plan for your home;

~Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room.

~Make sure all windows and doors open and close easily.

~Pick a meeting place outside your home-one that everyone knows and can easily get to (the mailbox, sidewalk, or in front of your neighbor’s house).

~Practice your home fire drill at least twice year.  Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.

~Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.

~Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find-the faster we find it the faster we can help.

~Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire-possibly causing less fire damage as well as giving others more time to get out.

~Once you get outside, stay outside.  Never go back inside a burning building, THINGS can be replaced-YOU can’t.

So now that you have these helpful tips go home and create your plan and don’t forget to practice it. If you have young children make a game of it and see how fast they can get out. If you have teenagers they’ll probably complain and roll their eyes but make them practice any way, it could save their life someday.

October also brought the end of a firefighting career for one of our own. Captain Mark Petruzzelli has decided to retire after serving 25 years for the Twin Falls Fire Department. Mark was an absolutely joy to work with, both at the station and at emergency scenes. His vast knowledge of the fire service and welcoming personality made him a top notch firefighter. Captain Petruzzelli started his career the same way we all do, as a hoseman cleaning toilets and following orders. He then worked his way up through the ranks, getting promoted to the position of Driver and then to the position of Captain, which he held for over half his career. His many years of experience and his knowledge have always been helpful on the fire scene, and what he has passed on will stick with most of us for the remainder of our careers. We wish Captain Mark Peruzzelli well in his future endeavors and hope he enjoys his retirement, but he will be greatly missed around the station.

Well, that’s about it for this month, and until next time, don't forget to wave to the boys in the BRT.