Two straight years without a deadly fire
The end of 2011 brings a major milestone for the city of Watertown and its fire department. It has been two full years without a fire taking someone's life. Our Brian Dwyer takes a look at the improvements within the fire department and what they're doing to help people keep themselves safe.
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- "Fire prevention isn't only a week. It should be all year round."
And in the city of Watertown, fire officials said it is. As the calendar flips to 2012, it will be two full years since the city has seen a fatal fire.
Officials credit the men in turnout gear, and the public itself.
Watertown Fire Chief Dale Herman said, “We're very pleased with our members here. They're very dedicated and we're very happy to provide the service to the community. At times the community itself has to take care of itself and make sure they have devices in place that'll keep them safe."
Those devices are smoke detectors. Something Herman said could very well have prevented the last fatal fire Watertown had in November of 2009. A 65-year-old died after suffocating from carbon monoxide poisoning. Herman said smoke detectors are the key factor in these life and death situations.
"In the number of fatalities since 1999, not having a working smoke detector has been attributed to people not being able to get out safely. We've had a number of near misses where having a smoke detector would have notified people earlier to get out when the fire was much smaller,” said Herman.
Herman also said his department is doing its best to educate people on how important smoke detectors are, by visiting schools, attending community events and even teaming up with Papa John's to randomly visit homes and give away a free pizza if your detectors work.
As the winter starts to roll in, the department wants to remind people to shovel out any fire hydrants near your home as well.