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Farmington fire department plans Fire Prevention Week activities

With only one house fire so far in 2011, it seems like the Farmington Fire Department's past fire prevention education efforts have paid off.

That's what Farmington fire marshal John Powers likes to think. And he may be on to something too, because the FFD has been teaching fire prevention for the past few years.

The 2011 Fire Prevention Week starts Sunday and runs through the week. This year's theme, Powers said, is "Protect Your Family from Fire."

"Last year, our theme included a smoke detector campaign. The year before was on developing an escape plan and the year before that was focused on cooking fires," Powers said. "This year kind of ties together the themes from the past and encourage families to develop an overall home fire and safety plan."

The fire department will hold its annual open house from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 13 at Fire Station 2. The event will feature cooking fire demonstrations, where participants can put out fires by using extinguishers. Cooking fires are the number one cause of fires Farmington personnel respond to, so Powers hopes the demonstrations will help educate visitors.

A mock crash is also planned for the event. Fire and rescue personnel will extricate a "victim" from a vehicle. Games are planned for kids and fire prevention information will be handed out.

Powers said the local Fire Prevention Week actually kicks off this week, on Thursday, when a "battle of the badges" blood drive will be held at Fire Station 1. From 1 to 7 p.m., anyone who chooses to donate blood will be asked to choose between the fire department and the Farmington Police Department. In the past, the Fire Prevention Week blood drive has collected about 130 pints of blood. Powers hopes the challenge between departments will bring in a few more people, and maybe help collect about 150 pints this year. Walk-ins are welcome.

Next week, Powers and volunteer firefighters will make their rounds to Farmington's elementary schools. Each school was asked to participate in a Fire Prevention Week poster contest. Prizes will be awarded when the firefighters arrive at the schools, but more importantly, the firefighters will be there to teach students a little bit about fire safety.

"The purpose (of Fire Prevention Week) really is to prevent fires and minimize damage," Powers said. "Farmington hasn't had a fire-related death in the city in ... well, I can't tell you when the last one was. It's been so long we don't have any documentation of it, and we want to keep it that way. We just don't want it to happen in our community."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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