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Michael McLemore

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


 

One of the divisions within the fire department that the general public is typically unfamiliar with is the fire prevention division. This division is staffed by the fire marshal, assistant fire marshal, three inspector/investigators, two public education officers and one support staff member.

The fire prevention division is an integral part of our department’s overall fire and life safety commitment in reducing the number of fires, preventing injuries and ensuring that the buildings within our community are compliant with adopted codes and standards. Personnel review building plans and conduct on-site inspections to ensure code compliance is achieved. They inspect businesses to ensure safety practices are in place that maintain the integrity of fire and life safety systems. The prevention division is the department’s front line deterrent for fires and ensures that a successful evacuation can be achieved during an emergency. Additionally, personnel investigate fires to determine the origin and cause. An arson investigation is initiated when the fire cause is determined to be intentional.

The public education office manages approximately 350 to 400 events per year. These assignments include fire station tours, home safety surveys and smoke alarm installations conducted by station personnel. Other assignments include portable fire extinguisher training, senior safety presentations, fire evacuation training, publication distribution and a variety of school safety initiatives conducted by the public education staff. These prevention and community safety education efforts play a big role in keeping our city safe from fire and reducing the number of potential injuries.

On another note, if you forgot to change the batteries in your smoke alarm(s) during the March time change, please do so now. You will also want to make sure to “push the test button” to check that your smoke detectors are in working condition.

A working smoke alarm provides early warning of a fire. Your chances for survival are two times better when smoke alarms are present than when they are not. Because the Sugar Land Fire Department is committed to life safety, we provide and install smoke alarms free of charge to any home (one- and two-family dwellings) within our fire jurisdiction. There are three main ways that we provide and install free smoke alarms:

• Individual Requests: Any person living within the Sugar Land Fire Department’s fire jurisdiction may call the Public Education Program Office and request this service. To make an appointment, call (281) 275-2859 or e-mail fire@sugarlandtx.gov.

• Free Home Fire Safety Survey: During the course of a home safety survey, smoke alarms may be installed as needed. Also, smoke alarm batteries are replaced as needed. To make an appointment, call (281) 275-2859 or e-mail fire@sugarlandtx.gov.

• Emergency Responses: At the conclusion of most emergency responses to residences, firefighters check for smoke alarms and replace or install smoke alarms and/or batteries as needed.

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This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

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