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Don't get burned

Mitchell Nelson of Alexandria tried on a child-sized version of a fireman's suit during the Alexandria Fire Department Open House on Monday. (Photo by Lowell Anderson)2 / 4
Children climbed out the window of the safe house after practicing how to escape through a smoke-filled room. (Photo by Lowell Anderson)3 / 4
Osakis firefighter Vic Perushek showed what can happen if you try to put out a kitchen grease fire with water. The demonstration was part of an open house the department hosted Sunday for Fire Prevention Week. (Photo by Al Edenloff)4 / 4

Firefighters are teaching it. Kids are talking about it. Families are practicing it.

October 7-13 is National Fire Prevention Week - a time when area fire departments bring their safety message into schools, homes and businesses and at fire stations as well.

The Osakis Fire Department hosted an open house on Sunday.

Children explored the Douglas County Fire Chiefs' Safety House to learn about preventing kitchen fires and how to escape a smoke-filled room. Firefighters explained that the number one-cause of kitchen fires is leaving food cooking unattended on the stove.

Outside, the crowd received an eye-opener of a message of how quickly a kitchen fire can get out of control.

Using its new live kitchen fire simulator - one of only two in Minnesota - the fire department showed what can happen if you try to put out a small grease fire with water: It erupted into a big fireball that engulfed everything within a few feet of it.

The Osakis Fire Department also showcased its eight fire trucks and other firefighting equipment.

The Alexandria Fire Department hosted its open house Monday night. The public could get an up-close look into the LifeLink helicopter, firetrucks and other emergency response vehicles.

Kids could try on firefighting gear, get fingerprinted and learn about "EDITH" - Exit Drills In The Home.

The theme of this year's Fire Prevention Week is "Have 2 Ways Out," which focuses on fire escape planning and practice. Only about one-third of Americans have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

For more on Fire Prevention Week, turn to Page 7, 8 and 9 in today's newspaper, which offers a salute to local volunteer fire departments.

Also, see today's Life section for more photos from the fire department open houses.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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