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Fire prevention week time to refresh safety

| Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger
Kittanning Borough Fire Marshal Buzz Kline stands near the Armstrong County Firemen's Association Education Trailer in Manor Township. Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times

No object in a home is worth a life.

That's what Kittanning Borough Fire Marshal Earl “Buzz” Kline wants people to remember as National Fire Prevention Week gets under way.

Kline said people should never attempt to go back inside a home to retrieve anything if a fire breaks out.

“Once out, stay out,” he said.

But to prevent fires from ever starting, fire safety should be practiced daily and not just during one week of the year, Kline said.

He said the most common cause of fire comes from burning food. People get distracted by a phone call or by someone at the door while cooking and leave the stove unattended, he said.

Lighted candles left unattended are a serious fire hazard, said Kline. Dryers can spark fires if lint builds up in the ducts. Electrical cords under rugs also are dangerous because they can become brittle and damaged. And with the holiday season fast approaching, people need to remember that overloaded circuits from holiday lights can start a fire.

Kline said a specially equipped trailer, owned by the Armstrong County Firemen's Association, has helped bring fire safety awareness to many communities throughout the county.

With its mock kitchen, living room and bedroom, the trailer helps educate children and adults on what to do in an emergency situation. A control room within the trailer shoots smoke into the rooms and heats up the bedroom door. Kids learn first-hand how to drop and roll before checking the door to see if it is safe to open. A window equipped with a short ladder offers a practice escape route to the outside.

Kline said it's important to teach children not to hide in closets or under beds during a fire. Families should have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the home and practice escape routes.

Senior citizens also have benefited from fire-prevention training in the trailer, which is wheelchair accessible.

And although the trailer gets around, it could still be utilized more, Kline said.

“It's a very good tool for fire prevention,” he said.

Organizations wishing to schedule a fire-prevention session can call Kline at 724-548-1686. Tickets for a monthly drawing benefiting the Firemen's Association can be purchased from volunteer firefighters at Ford Cliff, Ford City, West Kittanning, East Franklin, Kittanning Hose Co. 4, Rayburn and Kittanning Township fire departments. Cost per ticket is $1.

For more fire prevention tips visit FEMA's website at

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or

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