HomeMt Laurel NewsOctober is Fire Prevention Month in Mount Laurel

October is Fire Prevention Month in Mount Laurel

October is Fire Prevention Month and the theme for this year is “Protect Your Family from Fire.”

Mount Laurel Fire Marshal Ross Kownatsky said he and other firefighters go to all the public schools and day care centers in town and reach about 9,000 children.

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He said they teach fire safety, including how matches and lighters are tools not toys, and how to stop, drop, and roll if on fire.

Kownatsky said he shows kids how to check if there is fire on the other side of a door by placing their hands on it to feel heat.

He also tells them when to test and change batteries in smoke detectors.

The big event, the Annual Fire Prevention and Life Safety Event (formerly the Open House) will be held Oct. 5 in the parking lot at Dick’s Sporting Goods on Nixon Drive. Kownatsky said this is his second year running the event.

He said careless smoking is right behind cooking for main causes of fires. He also lit decorative and scented candles are also high on that list.

Kownatsky said families should find two ways out of every room and should conduct drills at home. They should also make sure they have a meeting place outside the residence.

Kownatsky said knowing what to do is important, like pretend there is a wall of fire and have family act accordingly.

Kownatsky started with the fire district in 1992 as a volunteer and was hired as a career firefighter in 1998. In 2004 he was promoted to lieutenant and became fire marshal in 2009.

Children should be taught to be aware of their surroundings and know what the safe thing is to do and what are unsafe choices.

Kownatsky also said when you flee a burning house don’t bring anything.

“We can go to Toys R Us and buy you a new toy,” he said. “But we can’t go buy a new David or Susie.”

Kownatsky also said let the firefighters rescue the pets.

“Just get out and be safe,” he said.

While he doesn’t have the number of people helped by Fire Prevention Month, Kownatsky said he often goes to residents’ homes and kids tell him they remember to stop, drop, and roll as well as to call 9–1–1.

“It’s good that it sticks,” he said.

Kownatsky said Fire Prevention Month got its start after the great Chicago fire in 1871.

Legend says Mrs. O’Leary was milking her cow who kicked over a lantern and burned a whole village down. The fire left 100,000 people homeless and destroyed 17,400 structures.


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