All That Fits

A Weekly Column 

by Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson, editor of the Jackson County Advocate newspaper, grew up in the Grandview community. She currently serves as President of Grandview Main Street and works as a development coordinator for the Grandview Education Foundation.  She also serves on the Missouri Press Board of Directors and the Kansas City Press Club Board of Directors. You can reach her at

October 12, 2017

Two years ago, our community suffered a devastaing fire to one of our downtown buildings. I can still hear the mayday call echo in my head. I can still smell the smoke that lingered for days. I can still feel the mist of the water as I inched as close as I could. I can still feel the heat. I went home that night and I cried. Sometimes, this job is really, really tough. But covering these moments in my community mean more to me than anything, and it can also incredibly rewarding.

This is National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 8-14). I urge you to check your alarms to make sure they are working properly. And, God forbid, if a fire does happen, make sure you have a plan to get out safely. The theme for 2017 Fire Prevention Week is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week on October 4-10, 1925, beginning a tradition of the President of the United States signing a proclamation recognizing the occasion. It is observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls, in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began October 8, 1871, and did most of its damage October 9.

If you have a fire tonight, will you get out safely? Grandview Fire Marshal Lew Austin says that you’ll have a better chance of getting out safely if you’ve planned ahead. Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with the whole family. Everyone should know two ways out of each room and know where to meet outside. Make sure everyone understands that getting out is the first priority. And remember, once you’re outside, stay out.

Your smoke alarm has the power to save your life. Or does it? If you haven’t tested your smoke alarm lately, it may not be working. And that’s a risk you can’t afford to take. Working smoke alarms give us early warning of a fire, providing extra time to escape safely. But they can’t do their job if we haven’t done ours - we must do monthly testing to make sure they’re working. Test all the smoke alarms in your home. Replace the battery at least annually and install a new smoke alarm every 10 years to ensure they are in proper working order.

To celebrate public safety in our community, Grandview Fire Department is hosting an open house on Saturday, October 21, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Grandview Fire Station #1, 7005 High Grove Road. There will be displays and demonstrations by the Grandview Police and Fire departments. Refreshments will be available and lots of handouts. Come out and meet your local police officers, firefighters, Sparky the Fire Dog and McGruff the Crime Dog.

In emergency situations, like a fire, seconds matter. I urge you to have a plan in place before something as devastating as the Guckert Building fire of 2015 occurs in your own home.

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