Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

October 10, 2013

Spotlight turns to fire safety

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — It’s that time again as the spotlight for many fire departments, including the one in Pauls Valley, has turned to reminding the public about fire prevention and safety.

For first-responders with the PV Fire Department that effort includes a lot of things, including a series of presentations to local school children.

With this week being recognized by the National Fire Protection Association, local firefighters are again going to Pauls Valley and Whitebead elementary schools to teach the youngsters about fire safety.

The week also features many of those same kids getting on the bus and showing up at the local fire station for a tour of the facility.

Each of the school visits includes an entertaining but informative video, along with firefighters offering tips on how to be safe.

“We talk to them about how to be safe, what to do when there’s a fire in their house,” Fire Chief Mark Norman said.

“The main thing for them is to know how to get out of their house when there’s a fire,” he said.

“The whole thing is about fire safety.”

With fire safety at the forefront this week and in October, the firefighters here stress the best thing residents can do is make sure the addresses of their homes are posted and clearly visible.

Both Nathan Roady and Jeff Abernathy say this is the one thing that would be the most helpful to the fire department when it responds to the call of a fire or emergency medical situation.

“Make sure homes are numbered,” Roady said.

“If you live in a rural area make sure to get your addresses posted by the road, preferably with reflective markings,” he said.

If there’s no curb, Roady suggests you post the actual address of the residence on a mailbox and if necessary on the house itself.

“That is the biggest thing the public could do to help us — getting the addresses posted with anything visible where we can see it from the road,” Abernathy said.

“Recognition of the house number is a big help to us.”

Both described the frustration of not being able to quickly find a residence after an emergency call goes out.

When responding to some calls the firefighters, dressed in their emergency gear and driving a truck with lights flashing and sirens blaring, actually drive by the residence they need because the address isn’t posted for them to easily see.

With fire safety week in full force right now, the local department is also randomly testing fire hydrants throughout parts of Pauls Valley.

The plan is to do the testings, starting in the early evening hours, over the next two or three weeks.

The department has also started its pre-fire plans for all commercial buildings in Pauls Valley.

What that means is firefighters are going to each commercial building in town, even the vacant ones, where they are gathering information as a way of being prepared for an emergency.

They stress this not an inspection as firefighters are simply getting the information they need on each business building to be prepared in case of a future fire.

“We’ll be doing this until all of them are done,” Norman said, referring to about 450 commercial buildings in PV.

The firefighters are also reminding folks to check the batteries in their home’s smoke alarms.