Henderson Fire Department one of two named in state for national award
Attention to detail, extra effort and proven results have placed the Henderson Fire Department on an elite list for national recognition of a successful fire safety program.
The department’s emphasis on fire safety drove residential fire casualties down. The recognition by a national consortium of fire safety educators recently noted the fact when awarding one of only two 2012 awards given in North Carolina to the Henderson Fire Department.
“What the award entails is showing that we have achieved higher levels of safety in the community,” said Jon Juntunen, the department’s fire and life safety educator.
The Life Safety Achievement Award is given by the National Association of State Fire Marshals’ Research Education Foundation, the Residential Fire Safety Institute and Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.
According to a written statement by the research foundation, public education is a significant influence in driving down life and property losses, and is cost effective compared to reliance on fire suppression alone.
“There was one other department in North Carolina that received that award this year,” said Danny Wilkerson, the city fire chief. “I am very proud of what our staff does for that program, and the award says a lot about them and their efforts.”
Juntunen said that a positive response from residents is the other half of the prevention effort that the award recognizes.
“Of course, it is residents themselves who make the real difference,” he said.
Juntunen said Henderson’s fire safety program runs through the year, starting with local firefighters of the county and city cooperating to put on events for National Fire Safety Week Oct. 6-12.
After that, a campaign to visit every home in the city to offer fire safety inspections takes place. Juntunen’s office responds to fire safety requests all year.
According to Juntunen, gathering as many as possible to the county open house on Oct. 5 and the city open house Oct. 10 is a good launch point for other safety campaigns. This year, those campaigns will include fire safety inspections in the city that kick off Oct. 14 and continue for several weeks until every home is visited.
“The county fire department will bring an ambulance and a fire truck to our open house, and we’ve been invited to theirs and will attend,” Juntunen said. “We work together to attend events of that type.”
Wilkerson said that the fall emphasis week and inspection campaign is a large part of demonstrating how an active and effective fire prevention program meets the national award criteria.
He added the year-long efforts add more depth to the level of commitment that the department shows to the cause of reducing the number of fires in the city.
For more information on the Henderson Fire home fire safety inspection program, Juntunen can be reached at (252) 430-1877.
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