Arlington County fire stations will host open houses this weekend.
“There will be firefighters there to answer questions, giveaways for the kids and parents, and at some of the stations we have moon bounces and popcorn,” said Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Gregg Karl.
“It brings everyone into the firehouses for Fire Prevention Week to raise awareness,” Karl added.
Each year, Arlington County firefighters celebrate Fire Prevention Week with the open houses. Eight of 10 fire stations will be hosting open houses from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. To see a full list of station locations, visit the ACFD website.
Station No. 4 in Clarendon at 3121 10th Street N. and Station No. 2 at 4805 Wilson Blvd. in Ballston won’t be hosting open houses due to renovations to the fire stations, Karl said.
This year’s theme is “Two Ways Out,” which encourages families to make sure they have at least two escape routes in case of a fire.
In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage, according to a press release from the fire department
“We get a lot of questions about smoke alarms and how often they should be replaced,” Karl said. “The last two years all of our stations have been equally busy.”
At fire station No. 6 on the Falls Church-Arlington County border, firefighters will be giving a canine demonstration, an auto extrication demonstration, and a mock structure fire demonstration.
If you can't make it out to the open houses this weekend, the fire department offers these tips for homeowners:
- Fire prevention week is a good time to test your smoke alarm. Install new batteries at least once a year and replace alarms that are more than ten years old.
- Recently, there have been stories in the news about smoke alarms not working properly. Two types of smoke detection technologies are in widespread use. Each one has a different reaction time, based on the type of fire:
- Photoelectric devices react faster to slower, smoldering fires that have larger particles – for example, a cigarette in a couch cushion or mattress.
- Ionization devices react faster to rapidly-spreading fires that have smaller particles – for example, a grease fire on a stove or wastepaper basket fire.
Additional recommendations from the Arlington County Fire Department
- Have at least one alarm on every level of the house and one in each sleeping area.
- Test all home alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice a year when the clocks are changed.
- Families must familiarize themselves with the dangers of smoke and fire and exit plan and to teach children what to do if the alarm sounds.
- Plan and practice home fire drills so every member of the home understands how to get out quickly if the alarm sounds.
- Write the date on the battery with a permanent marker as a reminder when the battery was changed.
- In addition to smoke detectors, all homes should also have carbon monoxide alarms.