Fire Prevention Week kicks off Sunday

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(ABC 6 News) – When it comes to protecting your family and home, you can never be too prepared. To help you be ready for anything, the Rochester Fire Department’s “Fire Prevention Week” kicks off this Sunday.

Fire safety education is not just for kids, it is for everyone, because you never know when a disaster may happen.

As it gets colder, RFD wants to remind everyone that home appliances need to be checked more frequently.

“We have furnaces that have not burned anything for quite a while, so we may see an increase in those fires,” said Jeremy Dostal, a training captain with RFD.

According to the department’s website, most home fires occur in the winter months, peaking in January.

For this reason, it is important that furnaces and chimneys are properly cleaned ahead of the winter months. When using secondary heating devices, ensure that they are three feet away from anything flammable.

Dostal says the most important thing, though, is ensuring that the home’s smoke detectors are operable and ready to go.

“We should be checking those every month,” Dostal added. “We have the time change happening again here coming up so the batteries should be replaced.”

Starting Oct. 9th through Oct. 15th, the community is invited to RFD’s open house, where they can learn more about fire prevention and are able to meet with firefighters.

There are open houses at all five fire stations. On Tuesday, Oct 11th, the stations are open from 5:30-7:30 pm. On Wednesday, Oct. 12th, the stations are open from 5:30-7:30 pm. The final day for open houses is on Saturday, Oct. 15th, where the stations will be open from 9:00-11:00 am.

The Rochester Fire Department is getting ready to welcome two new recruits to the department. This fall’s recruits are Annabelle Hardwick and Brady Nelson.

Nelson and Hardwick are entering into their second week out of their eight week recruitment camp. Afterwards, they will begin a six-month probationary period before they are official firefighters with RFD.

“I’m excited right now to learn everything, become competent in all of my abilities and just start working,” said Nelson.

Hardwick says she is glad Rochester offers such an extensive training program.

“It’s just a lot of information absorbing everything, a lot of hands-on things. It’s been really good,” Hardwick explained.

While training may be tough at times, being a firefighter has always been Hardwick and Nelson’s dream.

“I wanted to get into firefighting because it is a very hands-on career where you are helping people out in the public,” Nelson explained. “Just being able to be hands-on with them and make a difference in the community that I’ve lived in my whole life.”

More information on Fire Prevention Week can be found here.