COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Whether it starts in the kitchen or with the space heater in your home, a fire can ignite when you least expect it. Knowing what to do in that emergency situation could be a matter of life and death.
MSU Extension created a program to prepare young people for all kinds of emergencies. As a part of that program, the Columbus Fire and Rescue Department showed them a few fire safety tips that could one day save a life.
The Youth Preparedness Initiative, My PI, teaches teens across the state how to respond to fire danger. Columbus Fire & Rescue – Chief of Training, Duane Hughes, says knowing how to prevent a fire from spreading is the top priority.
“If you train young people to interact, go ahead and use a fire extinguisher at that early stage. You can probably prevent a larger conflagration but it does not replace the need to go ahead and call 9-1-1,” says Hughes.
Hughes says it only takes one minute for a fire to begin to spread. With the proper training, teens can save themselves and their families in the event of a fire. Lauren Revel participates in the My P I program.
“You should call 911, have somebody tell there’s a fire in the house. Grab the fire extinguisher and do the PASS,” says Revel.
There are four main steps to using a fire extinguisher. Pull, aim, squeeze and sweep. The acronym PASS is an easy way to remember the steps. Participants say learning fire safety tips gives them more confidence that they’ll respond quickly if a fire breaks out.
“There could be a time and place where you don’t have the ability to call 911 or you don’t have a fire department three blocks away from your house. You may need to take out the fire and buy time so people can get out of the house if the fire is really bad,” says Revel.
My PI is a 10-week program that will certify nearly 4,000 Mississippi teens in emergency preparedness each year. After completing the program, the teens will receive a Homeland Security Teen certification. Fire safety is just one element of the My P-I program. Teens will also learn CPR, first aide and disaster preparedness.