Of the 1,333 runs the Apple Valley Fire Department made in 2010, 58 were in response to fires, according to the state Department of Public Safety's 2010 Fire in Minnesota report.
But while these fires resulted in more than $655,000 in damage, nobody died in any of the fires, the report shows; 39 Minnesotans died in structure fires last year.
Making sure people stay safe and know how to respond in case of a structure fire is the goal of Fire Prevention Week, which this week is recognized nationally. The Apple Valley Fire Department will hold educational fire-prevention open houses for residents on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“We’re a much safer community, and people get out of their houses … because we go through this wonderful program for prevention," said Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland at an Apple Valley City Council meeting in September.
At each open house, held at a different Apple Valley fire station, residents will be able to learn how to use fire extinguishers, meet firefighters and learn about having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and creating an escape plan for their families in case of a fire, said Apple Valley Fire Chief Nealon Thompson.
The dates, times and locations are:
- 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday,
- 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday,
- 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday,
Apple Valley police and personnel from Allina Ambulance, county dispatch and Centerpoint Energy also will be on hand, Thompson said.
Firefighters also will give presentations about fire prevention at each of Apple Valley's elementary schools.
Thompson said smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years, but should be cleaned and get new batteries every six months.
Fire Prevention Week has been in place since 1925, and is recognized during whichever week contains Oct. 9, in memory of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
"It's a great time to educate," Thompson said.