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October 27, 2022 - 8:05am

'Fitting time' for fire prevention recognition this week

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Who says that Fire Prevention can’t sometimes be cute?

Emergency Management Services Coordinator Tim Yaeger and Deputy Coordinator Gary Patnode lightened up the topic a bit with Sparky, the spotted dalmatian mascot that’s part of National Fire Prevention Month.

Legislator Gary Maha, on behalf of the Genesee County Legislature, presented a proclamation to the trio Wednesday. The goal during October is to raise fire safety awareness and help ensure “your home and family are protected,” Maha said.

“Fire is a serious public safety concern both locally and nationally, and homes are the locations where people are at greatest risk from fire,” he said. “And whereas two of every five home fires start in the kitchen, with 31 percent of these fires resulting from unattended cooking.”

The reminder there is to stay in the kitchen when frying food on the stovetop, retain a three-foot distance between kids and the cooking areas, and keep flammable objects away from stovetops, the proclamation stated.

Residents are encouraged to map out and practice a home fire escape plan, as the more prepared families become, the better their rate of survival. Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in half, and “first responders are dedicated to reducing the occurrence of home fires and home fire injuries through prevention and protection,” Maha said.

Genesee County Legislature, therefore, proclaimed October as Fire Prevention Month, and urged all residents to participate by checking their smoke alarms and kitchens for fire hazards, all the while using safe cooking practices in October and beyond.

Sparky didn’t utter a word — not even a bark, per Maha’s suggestion — but his happy demeanor added some levity to an otherwise somber subject, especially given that fires have recently brought destruction to homes and businesses in Genesee County.

Yaeger thanked legislators and emphasized that it’s so important for fire protection systems to be safe.

“The men and women of Genesee County Fire and EMS work every day, training and preparing to provide fire safety training and response,” he said. "The fire dog is not able to speak, but he's here to make sure that both children and adults stay safe. Please, please, please check to make sure you have a clean smoke detector in your home as well as a carbon monoxide detector … be safe everybody.”

Legislative Chairwoman Shelley Stein said that the proclamation and recognition of the county’s emergency management local fire companies “couldn’t be more fitting” right now.

“After the fires that we've had around us and in our county, we need to be reminded one more time about the preventative measures … thank you for the operational expertise that we have in our fire and EMS service here in Genesee County. Our community and our citizens are well served.”

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Top Photo: Genesee County Legislator Gary Maha shakes the paw of the fire dog during Wednesday's legislative meeting; above, Maha, poses with Emergency Management Services Deputy Coordinator Gary Patnode, the fire dog, and EMS Coordinator Tim Yaeger, who accepted a proclamation for National Fire Prevention Month. Photos by Joanne Beck.

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