The house fire on Second Avenue Monday evening changed this week’s Mayor’s Corner.

Fire danger should remind all of us of the importance of taking all precautions against the threat of a house fire. It takes less than a minute for a small flame to turn into a full-blown life-threatening fire. Imagine, in as little as 30 seconds a small flame can become a major fire that ravages a home and threatens the lives of the people inside.

There was no sign of a problem when I came out of the municipal building, across the street from the fire. This was about 30 minutes before the tones went off.

According to the Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator, fires kill more Americans each year than all natural disasters in the United States combined. And even if individuals are spared, fire can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage. It can cost up to $50,000 to rebuild a kitchen engulfed by fire.

What’s most alarming is that home fires have become more dangerous and devastating recently because of the flammability of the materials in the house. Thirty years ago, you had, on average, about 14 to 17 minutes to escape a house fire, according to Consumer Safety of Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Today, with the prevalence of synthetic materials in the home, occupants may have as little as two-to-three minutes to get out. Fire testing conducted by UL has found a home with mostly synthetic-based furnishings can be entirely engulfed in less than four minutes.

Learn how you can best protect your home, your loved ones and your own life. Prepare a survival plan in case of a fire. Review your plan at least once a year. Make sure everyone in the house understands the escape plan. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily. Have a predetermined meeting place.

On a much lighter note, it was my pleasure to assist the Pocahontas County Senior Center with local home deliveries two days in March. Many people depend on this program and will tell you they would not know what they would do without it. The vast majority are very appreciative for the service. Traveling the route with Ledford “Jupe” Kidd was worth the time. He and the others who make this program work are doing God’s work. Also, Jupe knew where the dogs were. The ones to feed and the ones to watch out for.

Planning efforts are underway for the April trash clean-up. Beginning April 10, the Rotary Club will be cleaning and painting around the Gazebo area and First Avenue Mini-Park. The Cub Scouts have already cleaned around the football field, across the bridge and along Knapps Creek by Pocahontas Center. They plan to do trash duty every Monday night for a while. Good work Cub Scout Pack 33. Also, the Boy Scouts will be doing clean-up on the Greenbrier River Trail from Stillwell Park all the way through town.

Your efforts are all greatly appreciated.

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