Columbia Fire Department kicks off Fire Prevention Week

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department and its local partners kicked off Fire Prevention Week on Sunday. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2014 1,298,000 fires were reported in the United States. That's including one house fire every 85 seconds. 

CFD and its local partners were specifically looking to reduce that number with this year's Fire Prevention Week theme, "Hear the Beep while you Sleep," emphasizing the importance of smoke detectors that work on every level of the home.  

The kick-off event Sunday was intentionally geared toward children. The event featured games and activities from each sponsor, as well as games created by CFD. 

"A lot of times in a fire, children will want to hide from firefighters. It's an instinct to just get in a closet, get under a bed," said Columbia Fire Department Assistant Chief Brad Frazier. "We don't want them to do that. So we try to get around them as much as possible, let them know we're here to help and educate them on things like 'stop, drop and roll.'" 

One Columbia parent said one of her kids wants to be a firefighter, but it was most important that he be there to meet the real ones. 

"I think it's important for him to be familiar with firemen in the event that there ever would be a fire. That he's not afraid of them, but he's familiar with them, that he trusts them," said Nicole Hatchett.

CFD has a program to get smoke detectors to people who are less fortunate, but Chief Frazier said that Columbia does still see a lot of house fires, which is why he encourages families to have a fire plan and to familiarze their children with smoke detectors. 

During the kick-off, Columbia's Firehouse Subs made a donation of $15,462 in equipment. Frazier said the money will be used for specialized rescue equipment in order to have all of the latest tools and technology available to the department for 'more technical' rescues. 

According to Firehouse Subs Manager Brian Collins, the donation is from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation funded by money customers spend at Firehouse restaurants around the country.