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Elkhart city fire urges safety through prevention class

ELKHART, Ind.-In a fire, every second counts. October is National Fire Prevention Month and Elkhart City firefighters want you and your family to be prepared in case of an emergency.

Departments nationwide usually recognize “Fire Safety Week,” but Elkhart treats the program as a month-long initiative.

This year’s theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out”, which is meant to reinforce the need for every home to have an effective escape plan.

Chief Inspector at Elkhart City Fire, Tony Balzano, says the department starts working with kinds at a young age so safety is instilled in their minds as they grow older. Firefighters also try to alleviate some of the stress children can feel during a disaster.

“Once they see that we are just like them, we let them get a feeling of our gear so they know that we’re human beings, not a monster,” Balzano said.

The department will host various programs throughout the month, including station tours with Elkhart students and performing fire safety skits inside school classrooms.

Firefighters also utilize their “Survive Alive” house, which simulates smoky conditions and helps teach kids how to keep low during a fire in a home.

“Over the past half a dozen years or so, we still talk about stop, drop and roll, but what studies are showing is kids will do that in a fire when it’s not necessary,” Balzano said. “Stay low and go is a new saying that we have.”

A fire prevention class will be hosted at the Elkhart’s downtown public library location on Monday night starting at 4:30. The class will talk about the importance of smoke detectors, how equipment is used and even give families techniques on how to create a safety plan. The event is free and open to the public.

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