Bath Fire Department launches education effort

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BATH — Eleven people have died in Maine house fires in recent months, the city stated in a December 2014 press release.

The Bath Fire Department is trying to keep that number as close to zero as possible, this year and beyond, through a new city-wide program to educate the community about fire safety and prevention.

That program will include “learn not to burn” lessons for children; courtesy chimney and stove inspections; education on landlord and tenant responsibilities; CPR certification classes; and lessons on fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms; home exit drills and emergency reporting.

Dates for the program have not yet been established.

Those and other fire prevention tips might help avoid incidents like a Jan. 8 vehicle fire inside a Libby Court garage. Crews from various communities spent about an hour battling the blaze, which had reached a carport and spread through the attached home, according to the Bangor Daily News.

There were no injuries reported. The fire was deemed accidental, and an open flame device had apparently been placed too close to the vehicle, the Fire Department said Monday.

Prevention information classes with the Bath Housing Authority and local schools are in the works, according to Marc Wood, a captain with the department.

“Part of (the effort) was to let people in the community know of things that we already do provide here,” Wood noted, referring to the stove and chimney inspections, the prevention and intervention program for youths, and CPR and fire extinguisher training for city employees, which he hopes to expand to the public.

The department’s annual open house in October is always successful, “but it’s not as educational as it needs to be,” Wood said. “We really hope … to reach the wide demographic that we have in Bath. We have two nursing homes, elderly housing, schools, and we really hope to hit the entire community.”

Those interested in participating in the program, or have questions about fire safety and prevention, can call the Bath Fire Department at 443-5034.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.