Posted by Anne Decker on Oct 05, 2021
Local fire officials encourage us to take precautions to guard against fires.
Bath Fire Chief Joe Kitchen says the mission of the fire service is not just to put out fires, but to educate the community on fire safety and fire prevention. "In the United States, there are 1.3 million fires annually and about 100,000 of those are commercial buildings. $25.6 billion in losses annually." Kitchen says the three leading causes of commercial building fires are cooking, human error, and electrical malfunction. He says regular inspections, employee training, and keeping buildings clean and organized all help prevent fires. As business owners and managers, we should welcome fire inspectors on their annual visits. He says they are not there to fine businesses or cause problems; they are there to make sure that there are no fire hazards. 
Lima Fire Chief Andy Heffner stressed the importance of sprinklers and told us that sprinklers are only a small part of a building's budget, but they are invaluable in putting out fires and saving both lives and property. He illustrated this with a video about a huge fire in Philadelphia which was rapidly spreading, until it got to the one floor that had sprinklers and those sprinklers stopped the fire, which hundreds of firefighters had not been able to do.
Shawnee Township Fire Prevention Officer Matt Myers told us that every building should have smoke detectors and alarm systems. The main types are: automatic, which calls the fire department when fire is detected; manual, which is a box on the wall that has a handle to pull in case of fire; conventional, which divides a building into sections and has a panel that identifies the location of the fire; and the expanded system, which incorporates the sprinkler system, the smoke alarm system, CO2 detector, and security system. Your fire department can help you decide which system is best for your business.
Chief Kitchen also encouraged us to have fire extinguishers throughout our businesses; local fire departments will come to your business to train your employees on how to use them.
Also at Monday's meeting, we welcomed a new member, Jude Meyers, Superintendent at the Shawnee School District.