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COLUMBUS, Miss. — Columbus Fire Marshal Todd Weathers announced today that fire and life safety inspections for Columbus will begin Tuesday, September 3, 2013. “Efficient and accurate inspections are the goal this year,” said Fire Marshal Weathers.

Columbus Fire & Rescue will conduct the inspections of all city businesses during normal business hours under normal circumstances. Past inspections and code violations have created confusion with some area business owners.

Fire Marshal Weathers stated, “education of the business owner is essential to successful inspections.”

Proper fire extinguisher sizes as well as appropriate use of extension cords are some of the more common violations often found during annual inspections. Each business is required, by the Fire Marshal, to have a minimum of one ten-pound ABC extinguisher.

Extension cords and flexible cords shall not be affixed to structures, extend through walls, ceilings, floors, under doors or floor coverings, nor be subject to environmental damage or physical impact and shall not be used in the place of permanent wiring.

In every disaster there are lessons to be learned and problems that are resolved.

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was the first recorded disaster that enacted the use of fire codes.

Fire Prevention Week was instituted and fire education became a primary mission of municipal departments across the country.

The result of this fire left 300 Chicagoans dead, 90,000 homeless and claimed property loss of over $200 million.

Schools have never been immune to fire tragedy.

Three of great historical interests are Lakeview Grammar School in Collinwood, OH (176 dead), New London Consolidated School in TX (294 dead) and Our Lady of Angels School in Chicago (95 dead).

Each of these fatal fires led to improvements which benefit schoolchildren today.

Exit drills are mandatory; construction is in accordance to code, more school inspections and greater emphasis on installed fire protection, alarms and first aid firefighting equipment.

Code compliance and annual inspections are mandatory for business owners but what can you do at your home? “One inexpensive item every home should have is a smoke alarm,” said Carole Summerall, Safety Educator for Columbus Fire & Rescue.

Smoke alarms often cost between $5 and $20, but more importantly, they can double your chance of surviving a house fire.

Another thing that is beneficial to all emergency agencies is to have your address posted on your home. It should be visible from the road and is recommended to be at least four inch numbers. Columbus Fire & Rescue observes Fire Prevention week for the entire month of October.

The department will be in all city schools and daycares. When your children come home with fire prevention homework, please take the time to check your smoke alarm, go over a home fire drill and have an escape plan that everyone in the household knows.

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