EDITORIAL: Last week a reminder of the need for fire safety

We saw it twice in the last week — enormous fires, one in Nutley and one in Kearny. Sadly, the fire in Nutley claimed the lives of a mom and her 7-year-old child. In the Kearny blaze, the life of a family pet was taken.

It is all a stark reminder of just how important it is for everyone to be aware of the need to be conscientious about fire safety.

Kearny Fire Chief Steven M. Dyl used the fire on Stuyvesant Avenue as a chance to remind everyone of the importance of having both fire and carbon-monoxide detectors at home. And, for residents of Kearny who cannot afford one or both, they are available, for free, at Fire Headquarters.

This is a tremendous project, spearheaded by Chief Fire Inspector Juan Barroso Jr. and Deputy Chief Joe Mastandrea. Anyone without such detectors in Kearny should head to HQ this week to get their own.

Dyl also used the opportunity to remind residents to have a family evacuation plan should a fire ever break out.

There is no excuse for any family not to have such a plan ready to go, just in case.

First, he says, get out as quickly as possible and, while doing so, call 911. If calling 911 isn’t possible during the evacuation process, call as soon as possible thereafter. Never presume someone else has called. All the same, if you witness fire, make the call, because you don’t know if anyone else has. Then, he says, meet in a designated, safe location away from the fire. When firefighters arrive, choose someone to inform them whether all have safely gotten out.

And then, remember — once you’re out, stay out. This is all of the utmost importance. Because one life lost in a fire is one too many. And knowing how to properly evacuate could be the difference in whether all lives are ultimately spared.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.