“The best fire that we fight is the one that doesn’t begin. That is the purpose of Fire Prevention Week. We need everyone involved in this effort to get fire deaths down to zero.” -Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel

October 27, 2016

National Fire Prevention Week is observed mid-October every year. For the Philadelphia Fire Deaprtment, fire prevention is preached year-round as part of their community outreach.

For October’s Part of the Plan video, the Office of Emergency Managament spoke with Philadelphia Fire Commsioner Adam Thiel, who gives insight into the “science of fire”. This includes a look inside the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Burn Building at their training facility, showing it’s not only smoke rising you have to worry about in a fire, but temperatures that approach quadruple digits.

The fire commisioner also talks about the essential importance of something that is hidden in plain sight, your smoke detector, and why you need to keep it in mind.

The Philadelphia Fire Department is bringing this expert knowledge and more direct to you with their inaugural Citizens Fire Academy on Novemeber 19th. The classes will offer insight into the job firefighters do as well as offer information that you can use at home.

Office of Emergency Managements plans, such as the Mass Care and Shelter Plan, heavily involve the fire department in our responses when keeping you, the public, safe.

“Fire is everyone’s fight”

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel’s words as he accepted a proclamation declaring the week of October 9th Fire Prevention Week. The decree was  presented by the City of Philadelphia’s First Deputy Managing Director Brian Abernathy on October 5th.

Home fires and conflagration (an extensive fire that destroys a great deal of land or property) is a great concern to residents and businesses in Philadelphia. Half of those responding to our Hazard Mitigation Survey say fires that affect a city block are a concern to them. A way to help alleviate that worry is for residents and businesses to be knowledgeable and prepared.

Something we value in the Office of Emergency Management is informing and including the public as to their roles in our plans. As we say, putting the “public” in “public safety”.

Fire Commissioner Thiel echoed this belief, noting, “It takes all of us, together, to help fight fires.” Thiel added, “It’s not just our fire department. We need everyone engaged in fire prevention.”

What you can do

  • Be Smoke Alarm Aware:
    • Did you know the lifespan of a smoke detector is 10 years? If not, you’re in the majority. A National Fire Prevention Association survey showed 90 percent of respondents did not know that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed reported having smoke alarms that were older than 10 years. After 10 years, the sensors in smoke detectors begin to lose their sensitivity.
    • Have a smoke alarm, and test it. In 2015, half of the fire deaths in Philadelphia were in residences that did not have smoke alarms or were inoperable due to missing batteries.
    • If you do not have a smoke detector, the City has one for you, at no cost. The Philadelphia Fire Department will even install it for you. Contact the fire department or Philly 311, the City’s non-emergency number for services.
    • Treat all alarms as a real emergency. Become familiar with the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Fire Safety Rules.
    • Know where to place your smoke alarms.
  • Sit down to develop, and practice, an escape plan for you and your family.
  • Establish an emergency plan, which includes a contact list, meet-up locations, and building a go-bag. Include everyone in your home: those with access and functional needs and your pets too.
  • Be connected to emergency information through free ReadyPhiladelphia alerts. Details, which may include evacuations and shelters being opened, are sent to your phone or computer as text or email alerts. That information