Courier Staff Writer
With Fire Prevention Week just around the corner, the Ottumwa Fire Department received a donation of fire extinguishers Thursday that they can then turn around and donate to Ottumwa residents.
ABS Fire Equipment Inc. owner Tim Guiter donated 50 fire extinguishers to the Ottumwa Fire Department Thursday morning.
All residences are required to have a fire extinguisher, and those who don’t have one or can’t afford one can call the OFD to pick one up, said Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge. Landlords are also required to install fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in apartments before they are rented, he said.
“It’s a great addition to the program,” Benge said, as the department will also install smoke detectors for residents. “And we have a fire extinguisher training program, so we’ll go out and train you on how to use one properly.
“A person trained to use a fire extinguisher is an effective tool.”
Guiter said local firefighters came out to his business a month ago to purchase a couple of fire extinguishers. Since the extinguishers are fairly small, Guiter said he knew the firefighters wouldn’t be using them themselves.
They explained to him that they were part of a program to help low-income, disabled or elderly people in the community who needed fire extinguishers in their homes.
“I thought it was a great program,” Guiter said.
Guiter said ABS has donated coloring books and other items to local schools for fire prevention education in the past.
“It might save a life, a house, a car,” Guiter said. “There used to be one fire a person would come across in their lifetime. Today it’s more like 4.5 fires.”
Oct. 8-12 marks the 85th annual Fire Prevention Week, which was originally established to commemorate the “Great Chicago Fire” of 1871, which “killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres,” according to the National Fire Protection Association.
This year’s theme is “Have 2 Ways Out,” highlighting the fact that escape routes are often quickly engulfed in smoke and flames, making it necessary to have two ways out of a home in the case of a fire.
Residents in need of a fire extinguisher can call the fire department at 641-683-0667 ext. 4.