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Participants visit a Santa Maria Fire Department engine during national Night Out in Santa Maria at the Veterans’ Memorial Community Center and Park. On Oct. 14, the Fire Department will have similar demonstrations at Station No. 1 to mark Fire Prevention Week. 

Len Wood, Staff

Next week is Fire Prevention Week in the city of Santa Maria.

On Tuesday evening, the City Council dedicated Oct. 8 to 14 to raise awareness about fire safety, a declaration that coincides with National Fire Prevention Week.

National Fire Prevention Week commemorates the great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed more than 17,400 buildings.

The theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out,” said Santa Maria Fire Department Chief Leonard Champion.

“In 2015, fire departments in the United States responded to 365,500 residential fires resulting in 2,560 civilian deaths,” Champion said.

The city’s fire department responds to about 10,000 calls a year. As of May, the more than 3,000 calls for assistance have been answered.

“The campaign works to motivate residents to be prepared, make an exit plan and practice their plan,” Champion explained.

Throughout the year, the Santa Maria Fire Department conducts regular outreach programs to highlight the importance of being ready in case of fire. 

“We have an outreach program that targets every third-grade student to talk about fire prevention and fire awareness. We talk about what the fire department does for their community,” Champion said.

Everyone is urged to develop a home fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.

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“In a fire, seconds count," Champion said. "Every second that passes, if you don’t know what to do, the likelihood of you making it out safely decreases.”

The city's Fire Prevention Week will culminate with a special open house from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 14 at Fire Station No. 1, 300 W. Cook St.

“We invite the community to come out. We will have tours and demonstrations. We will show the public how we do auto extractions, and we will have our fire prevention trailer,” Champion said.

The fire prevention trailer has a replica home inside and demonstrates how smoke can fill a structure.

Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.