Events include the Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial Ceremony at the Florida State Fire College north of Ocala on Friday and a free pipes and drums concert the night before at the Ocala downtown square.
Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed a proclamation declaring Sunday as Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day of Remembrance In Florida.
According to a news release from the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association, around 80 firefighters die in the line of duty in the U.S. every year. So far this year, the U. S. Fire Administration reports, there have been 69 firefighter line of duty deaths.
Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day of Remembrance In Florida will coincide with the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, Fire Prevention Week and the annual Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial Ceremony and Prayer Breakfast, which will take place Friday at the Florida State Fire College north of Ocala.
On Thursday, firefighters from around the state will parade to the Ocala downtown square and perform a free pipes and drums concert at 8 p.m.
At the fire college, located at 11655 NW Gainesville Road, a memorial brick section rings the outer edge of the Florida Fallen Fighter Memorial, which is in an open area in the center of the campus. The memorial was dedicated in 1992 and has a life-size statue called “Firefighter at Rest,” by artist Don Murray of Gainesville. A raised granite section lists names of firefighters lost in the line of duty. An outer perimeter brick section honor firefighters who have died due to reasons other than in the line of duty.
The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial is at the U. S. Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Fire Prevention Week will run Sunday-Saturday. Ocala Fire Rescue is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association, sponsor of the week for more than 90 years, to promote this year’s campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”
According to OFR Public Information Officer Ashley Lopez, association statistics show that the number of U.S. home fires has been steadily declining over the past few decades. The death rate per 1,000 home fires that are reported to fire departments, however, was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980.
“These numbers show that while we’ve made significant progress in teaching people how to prevent fires from happening, there’s still much more work to do in terms of educating the public about how to protect themselves in the event of one,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy, in the release sent by Lopez. “This is particularly critical given the increased speed at which today’s home fires grow and spread.”
Carli noted that although people feel safest in their home, it is the place they are at greatest risk of fire, with four out of five U.S. fire deaths occurring at home. That over-confidence contributes to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice, the release stated.
This year’s “Look. Listen. Learn.” campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:
* Look for places fire could start.
* Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.
* Learn two ways out of every room.
“Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go,” Lopez stated in the release. “No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.”
She said Ocala Fire Rescue is will be visiting schools, community groups and organizations to emphasize this year’s campaign. To request a fire safety presentation, call 629-8306.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.
To learn more about the fire college, call 369-2800 or find Florida State Fire College on Facebook.