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Fire officials stress safety as national observance

Special Photo Back Row Left: Firefighter Jordan Edge, Lieutenant Richard Carignan, Shaerica Williford, Dejarnae Patman, Firefighter Mike Glover holding Fayian Williford, Quentin Ladson, DeiReska Lay, Lieutenant Scott Dakin; Front Row Left: Power Evans, Keaerica Williford, Aniya Lay, Cerey Bradford, Marasyn Riley, Amaya Ramey 

Special Photo Back Row Left: Firefighter Jordan Edge, Lieutenant Richard Carignan, Shaerica Williford, Dejarnae Patman, Firefighter Mike Glover holding Fayian Williford, Quentin Ladson, DeiReska Lay, Lieutenant Scott Dakin; Front Row Left: Power Evans, Keaerica Williford, Aniya Lay, Cerey Bradford, Marasyn Riley, Amaya Ramey 

WINDER -- As Georgians shed swimsuits for fleece and hot cider, fire officials are reminded of a chilling fact of life: Cooler air temperatures can spell a greater risk for residential fires.

Like fire departments across the United States, Barrow County Emergency Services personnel addressed crowds from elementary schools to civic organizations to mark National Fire Prevention Week, which concluded Saturday.

While fire prevention and safety are rudimentary goals of any firefighter, department spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin said officials "give an extra push in October" to stress the national theme, this year's being "Protect Your Family From Fire."

Firefighters will be addressing elementary schools this month, teaching fire prevention and fire safety classes. They're also on tap to teach classes at several organizations around Barrow County.

"When we teach these classes, most people leave with a better understanding of things they can do to prevent fires and things they can do if a fire occurs in their home," Dakin said. "We stress that no one thinks it can happen to them, yet it can. Being prepared is the best way to survive if a fire does occur."

Officials offered the following safety tips, among many others, to reduce home fires:

Never leave cooking food unattended.

If you smoke -- smoke outside.

Have heating equipment and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually.

Keep flammable materials away from light bulbs, light fixtures and lamps.

Use flashlights during power outages, not candles.

"Our highest priority is the safety of the citizens we serve," said Dakin. "We want all citizens to be better informed about fire safety and fire prevention to reduce the number of fires, thus reducing the number of injuries and death caused by fires."

For more tips, fire officials urge residents to tune into the department's weekly radio show at 11 a.m. Mondays. The show airs on 1300 WIMO radio or can be accessed at www.wiomradio.com.