By Mike Homan, Deputy Fire Chief
Tiffin Fire/Rescue Division

National Fire Prevention Week celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, as it was sponsored by the NFPA in 1922. In 1925 President Coolidge made the week of October 9th a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in the country. Every year when fire prevention week comes around, most people think of school programs. No matter where you grew up chances are you can remember the local fire department stopping in classrooms to discuss fire safety. This is a very important component of what is actually a complex prevention program that the Tiffin Fire/Rescue Division provides our citizens.

The K-5 school program that kids and parents have grown to love has developed into one of the best in the state. The staple of the program is StayLo the clown. StayLo, with assistance from Matt Gebauer and Matt Gray, provide a fun, interactive environment using magic and comedy to bring home the importance of fire safe practices for children. Each year, hundreds of students are taught through partnerships with local schools. For children who find themselves curious about fire or have started one, a confidential Juvenile Fire Setter Program is available.

Fire prevention can be taught at any age level. Tiffin is fortunate to be home to Tiffin University and Heidelberg. Each year as students are brought in our prevention bureau works with resident advisors to provide fire drills and safety tips for living in dorms. These young adults learn the importance of what to do during a fire alarm and safe cooking practices.

Most fires that occur in the U.S each year happen in residential homes. In 2017, the Be Safe in Your Home Program was initiated in response. Fire prevention personnel can come to your home within the city and offer guidance on fire safety. Focus areas that are looked at include smoke alarms, storage, heating appliances and home escape planning.

In 2016, firefighter/paramedic Nick Gosche spearheaded our Senior Fire and Fall Prevention Program. As a fire based EMS agency our focus goes beyond that of fire prevention and branches out to injury prevention. This class focuses on providing our older populations with information on preventing fires, what to do if there is a fire, and how to reduce falls. Education on the proper use of fire extinguishers is provided to local businesses each year using a state of the art laser training prop that can be used indoors or out. Similar to a video game, the system allows for increased participation and a safe experience with no mess.
Not only is it important to be safe in your home but we want to ensure a safe environment in the businesses we work and shop at as well. Each year the Fire/Rescue Division completes approximately 900 fire and life safety inspections at commercial establishments in the city. The goal of these inspections is to work with business owners to ensure that their investments are safe and so are the people working and doing business there. These efforts start from the ground up with new construction and remodel plan review. Initial occupancy inspections are conducted and each year a follow up inspection occurs. The city has a great business community and we pride ourselves in working with them to reduce fire and life safety hazards.

In the event of a fire our investigation team works alongside the Tiffin Police Department to obtain a cause and origin of all fires. Investigation is important for several reasons, especially when it comes to prevention. Sometimes common causes can be determined that through data reporting can lead to recalls or safety bulletins to try and eliminate future fires from the same result.

As you can see there is a lot that goes into fire prevention in our small community. Through these efforts, the Tiffin Fire/Rescue Division will continue to protect life and property through dedicated fire and EMS services. Join us in celebration October 9th through the 15th.