ROCHELLE — In support of local firefighters, during Fire Prevention Week, the News-Leader publishes a special Fire Prevention Week section, located inside today’s edition, to salute local firefighters.
The Rochelle Fire Department has 13 fulltime firefighters, including the chief. The fulltime firefighters include Dave Sawlsville, chief; Lt. Zach Prewett, Lt. Jason Underwood, Lt. Dan Miller; and firefighters Brian Edwards, Rob Workman, Jeremy Good, Josh Lewis, Jody Willis, Tyler Carls, Ben Johnson, Ryan Baylor and Kenny Dougherty. As well as being certified to fight fires, all fulltime firefighters are certified paramedics.
Along with the City of Rochelle Fire Department, the Rochelle-area has four district stations — Hillcrest, Creston, Steward and Flagg Center. Those stations make up the Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District and their firefighters are included in the special section, as are the district’s trustees.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal kicked-off National Fire Prevention Week 2017 on Oct. 8 as Governor Rauner proclaimed Oct. 8 through Oct. 14 as Fire Prevention Week in Illinois.
Fire Prevention Week is a week spent encouraging residents to learn and prepare for emergency situations. This year the theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out.” In fire emergencies, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. It is crucial to have an escape plan in place for your home. Each occupant should know multiple exits and paths to safety.
“Fire is everyone’s fight and can occur in any building,” said Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “Always be aware of your surroundings whether you are at home or at work. Have a plan A and plan B in case of emergency. This October, please take the time to prepare and protect your-self and your family.”
The National Fire Protection Association recommends the following:
• Draw a map of your home that clearly identifies pathways to two exits.
• Practice your home fire drill twice a year – one at night and one during the day – with everyone in the family.
• Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
• Clearly mark your home so fire departments and first responders can find it easily.
• Close doors behind you as you leave to slow the spread of smoke and fire.
• Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
In 2016, fires occurred in more than 15,000 homes in Illinois. Additionally, Illinois fire departments reported more than 500 civilian fire-related injuries and 121 civilian fatalities.
The Hillcrest Fire Department will host an open house on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Hillcrest station is located at 223 Powers Road.
The Rochelle Fire Department Smoke House will be on hand. Other activities include a kids’ firefighter maze challenge, fire extinguisher demonstrations, fire prevention education, and station and truck tours.
Information will also be available on how to join the department and hot dogs and beverages will also be available.
The event is free; however, any donations will go toward training and equipment.