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Housing Services: Preventing Fires, Protecting Our Families

Community Outreach Supervisor Lori Calderon taught what to do when preventing fires

On Monday, July 17, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Housing Services held its monthly Fire and Safety Prevention workshop to review important fire-prevention topics, which included Parent Safety Tips, Safety in the Home, Juvenile Fire Setters and other valuable information. The goal is to help prevent fires in Community homes.

The evening workshop started with a talk by Community Outreach Supervisor Lori Calderon, who explained the top three causes of fires in the home.

1. Cooking Fires

Calderon said it only takes a few seconds to unintentionally start a fire on the stove. Maybe you’re cooking in the kitchen when the doorbell rings or your child gets hurt. You walk away, and next thing you know the frying pan is on fire.

What you do next is important:

2. Smoking

The second leading cause of fires and fire-related death is smoking. If you smoke, it’s important to properly discard and extinguish your cigarette.

3. Heating Equipment

Many fires and related fatalities in homes are caused by heating equipment. Whether it’s a backyard grill in the summer, a space heater in winter or the clothes dryer anytime, always follow the directions for using your appliances and never leave them unattended.

Pictured is the little girl (second from left) who won the back-to-school give away at the workshop.

Fire Safety Education

Children should be taught how to prevent fires from a young age, because they are naturally curious about fire. Calderon mentioned that children under six years old most likely would start a fire in the bedroom, and kids ages 10 to 12 most likely to start fires outside. Explain to your children that fire-related items (lighters, matches, etc.) are not toys, and they should always quickly tell an adult if they do see a fire.

The Salt River Fire Department has a special Juvenile Fire Setters program to intervene with kids who are experimenting with fire. The department also teaches fire prevention through a variety of programs; for information, visit

Smoke alarms should be tested twice a year and replaced every 10 years. Smoke alarms should always be mounted onto the wall, not hanging. It’s always good to explain to the children inside the house that “This is an alarm to warn us that there is a fire. If you hear it, get out of the house right away.” Also come up with a family emergency escape plan in case of a fire, and discuss it with all family members. Each room should have an alternate escape route, which is normally the window. Designate a specific area outside the home for everyone to meet.

Always report any fire to the Salt River Fire Department (911), even if you already put out the fire yourself. In some instances, remaining fire embers may have reached the ceiling, and in the attic they can reactivate the fire in the home. It’s always important to let Community authorities handle each fire that occurs in the home, for your safety.

The Prevention & Intervention Services-Housing Services Home Fire Safety Workshop is offered once a month. The event is for the whole family and includes back-to-school giveaways for children.

For more information on these workshops, contact Housing Services at (480) 362-5763.