Yesterday I attended the third session of the citizen’s fire academy, learning about fire prevention. We were given a checklist and then wandered through the fire station finding violations of fire codes that had been staged for us to find. Examples: two extension cords plugged into each other, blocked exit ways, combustibles stored close to a heater, uncovered electrical outlets, rugs over extension cords, portable space heaters within 3 feet of combustible material. The fire department conducts much education, having spoken to over 10,000 residents over the last year. Some interesting statistics cited: over 60% of smoke alarms in apartments don’t work; in 2009 in the US there were 3010 fire-related deaths, over 17,000 injuries with 86% of the deaths in residences, 1.3 million fires and $12.5 billion of damage. Then we had a chance to escape from a Fire Safety House, getting out through stage smoke. After having a fire in our house earlier in the year that was quickly extinguished, I really appreciate what fire departments do.