The Highland Village Fire Department recently received a Life Safety Achievement Award for the ninth year in a row for its fire prevention and life safety efforts.
This year’s award for 2013 is one of 142 presented to fire departments across the U.S. and the only one awarded to a fire department in Texas.
In addition, the department earned a Heart Safe Community Award from the International Association of Fire Chiefs in May. Highland Village was the only city with a population under 50,000 to receive the Heart Safe Community Award in Texas.
Both awards are important to the 18-member fire department, says Highland Village Fire Chief John Glover.
“It validates to the public what they’re spending their money on in fire services,” Glover said. “It’s double validation that the path we’re on is the right one.”
The department works with residents on fire prevention, installing child safety seats for parents and making blood pressure checks for the city’s elder residents. The fire department also has worked closely with other city officials to install automated external defibrillators in parks, shopping centers and many city vehicles.
“It’s our city’s job to really protect our citizens,” Glover said, adding that the department recognizes the need for life safety efforts in addition to fire prevention and extinguishing fires when they occur.
The Life Safety Achievement Award was announced last week by Butch Browning, president of the National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation, which presented the award in partnership with Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.
“The heroic efforts of our local fire service aren’t limited to rushing into burning buildings to save families. They also present educational information to local schools and other community groups to make sure people know how to respond to fires and how to prevent them in the first place,” said Alan Clark, assistant vice president of Special Investigations for Grinnell Mutual, in a news release. “The Life Safety Achievement Award recognizes fire departments for their fire prevention programs that have been proven to save lives year after year.”
Since 1994, the Life Safety Achievement Award has recognized local fire prevention efforts that have contributed to reducing the number of lives lost in residential fires. The award is presented to fire departments for recording zero fire deaths in 2013 or reducing fire deaths by at least 10 percent during the year. In addition, award recipients documented active and effective fire prevention programs as well as a clear commitment to reducing the number of house fires in the community.
Although residential fires in the U.S. account for only 20 percent of all fires, they result in 80 percent of all fire deaths, according to the release.
“Experience tells us that fire prevention activity and public education can significantly reduce life and property loss from residential fires,” Browning said. “Prevention and education are very cost effective compared to the traditional approach of relying on fire suppression. The Life Safety Achievement Award recognizes fire departments for their fire prevention efforts and encourages them to continually improve upon those efforts.”