MOUNT VERNON — Fire Prevention Week 2009 is in full swing, with fire departments working hard to get fire prevention education out to Knox County residents. Part of the fire safety message involves what to do if you find yourself in a building which is on fire.
Daily life finds individuals in several locations every day, locations which have the potential to become traps if they catch fire or fill with smoke. If your favorite shop or restaurant were to catch fire while you were inside, would you know how to get out safely? Where are the emergency exits in your classroom, work place or lunch area?
Chris Menapace, Mount Vernon assistant fire chief, said the Mount Vernon Fire Department inspection bureau has taken on the task of inspecting over the past two years every business in Mount Vernon’s fire district.
As a result, Menapace said, businesses in the city are much safer than they were a few years ago. Even with the new safety measures which have been put in place as a result of the inspections, Menapace said, it is a good idea to always have an escape route in mind when dining out or shopping.
At the office or in the classroom, escape routes are clearly marked inside many buildings. If escape routes are not posted, look for signs above the exits.
“When I go somewhere, before I get to my chair I know where the exits are; that’s a habit,” Menapace said.
He explained that being prepared is a habit children should be taught early, which should carry over to safety issues and fire prevention as well.
“We teach kids in baseball to think about what you’re going to do with the ball before you catch it,” Menapace said, adding that children should also be taught to look for exits when they are in a store or restaurant to prepare them should they need to evacuate.
“If you wait until you catch the ball, it’s too late,” he said. “You need to have that planned in your mind so if an emergency happens, you can react.”