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Fire prevention

Ketchikan has reason to be thankful — even a week after Thanksgiving Day.

Five people escaped a burning house over the weekend on First Avenue.

A shelf alerted the people to the fire when it burned through and fell. By then the fire had advanced, prompting evacuation and a call to the Ketchikan Fire Department.

Firefighters extinguished the fire.

They also used the fire as an opportunity to educate the public about preventing house fires.

Prominent on a list of preventive measures is the installation and maintenance of fire alarms. No one has to go without such alarms — ask the fire department. Then maintenance is fairly simple, requiring that batteries be checked and switched out as needed. Homeowners have been known to replace batteries in sync with adjusting clocks in or out of daylight savings time, changing the clocks forward or back and verifying smoke alarms are working correctly. Multiple smoke alarms should be installed throughout a home.

Smoke alarms detect fires well before they might be seen. This provides the extra time to escape a house fire and call the fire department.

Ketchikan has experienced a couple house fires recently. Two is two too many.

But they serve as reminders to be fire-prevention minded. There is no better time to have a plan for if a fire should occur, and make sure that the whole household, particularly the children, know to get out, stay out and call for help. And, of course, it should be stressed to children that they need to let adults of the household know they are OK once they are out of the house.

The idea is to have an outcome like this past weekend in which all of the people escape the fire. Houses can be replaced. People can’t.