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Community Devastated By Tragic Loss

2nd of May 2001

These are genuine newspaper headlines taken from national newspapers. These are the headlines that we dont want to see in our local papers. But the fact is, fire can strike at any time at any place, your house, my house, your neighbours house, anywhere.
Over the Christmas period three lives were lost to house fires in Hertfordshire, in addition to that there were thirteen near misses. A near miss is when the occupants of the dwelling were alerted to the fire by the cries of the family pet. In all of these cases it was found that there was either no smoke alarm fitted, or that the smoke alarms had the batteries removed. These fires all happened at night whilst the families were asleep in bed. In all the cases the houses were severely damaged by fire smoke & heat.
A fire that is detected early can be dealt with early, without injury or loss to life. A house fire in the community brings home to us the need to be a little more safety conscious. A house fire that causes a death is traumatic for the neighbours and the surrounding community, and believe it or not it has a traumatic effect on the fire and ambulance crews involved in the rescues. But for the family of the deceased there is no measure to describe the pain, anguish, and devastation caused by such a sad and tragic loss.
Sad, tragic and in 90% of cases, unnecessary and totally avoidable. We can not prepare ourselves for the devastation that losing a loved one brings, but we can prepare for an emergency if it should happen.
What can we do to protect ourselves?

1. Fit a smoke alarm.
These inexpensive warning devices will detect smoke from a potentially lethal fire almost as it starts and will give you those precious few minutes that you will need to make your escape. If you have already got a detector, check that it operates correctly by depressing the test button. (In the time it has taken you to read this you could have tested all your smoke detectors.)

2. Plan your escape route and inform all your family of the plan. Practice your escape so that in the event of a fire starting in your home you can be confident that all your family will get out in time.

3. Make sure that all members of your household know how to call the fire service (999)
We would like to think that not having a working smoke detector is not an option in the area that surrounds Bovingdon Fire Station. If you havent got one and you would like some advice on where to fix one or you would like us to fit one for you, please call or fax us on 01442 832261. As the station is not manned all the time, you will need to leave a message on the answerphone. Simply leave your name, phone number, address and the nature of the enquiry and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Jamie Fyfe, Station Commander, Bovingdon Fire Station

This page is edited by Tony

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