Fire Prevention

Fire Department Educational Programs

Geneva firefighters present fire prevention programs to hundreds of children every year.

The Geneva Fire Department provides formal fire prevention programs in the City schools in grades 1-5, babysitter fire safety, and fire safety for the elderly. Also, the Department will provide educational programs for local businesses and civic organizations upon request. Please make requests two weeks in advance.

Programs can cover the following topics, or they can be tailored to your group’s needs.

E.D.I.T.H., Exit Drills In The Home

E.D.I.T.H., Exit Drills In The Home, is a national program sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association to help parents and children learn to safely escape a fire. E.D.I.T.H. stresses preplanning and practice to help parents teach their children the proper ways to escape a fire.

  • Plan Your Escape
    • When a fire occurs, there’s no time for planning. Sit down with your family today and make a step-by-step plan for escaping a fire.
    • Draw a floor plan of your home marking two ways out of every room — especially sleeping areas.
    • Agree on a meeting place outside your home where every member of the household will gather after escaping a fire to wait for the fire department. This allows you to count heads and inform the fire department if anyone is trapped inside the burning building.
    • Practice your escape plans at least twice a year. Have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be the monitor and have everyone participate. A fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully!
    • Make your exit drills realistic. Pretend that some exits are blocked by fire, and practice alternative escape routes. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are filling with smoke.
  • Be Prepared
    • Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. If you live in an apartment, use stairways to leave the building. Never use an elevator during a fire: it may stop between floors or take you to a floor where fire is burning.
    • If you live in a two-story house and you must escape from a second-story window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for children, older adults, and people with disabilities. People who have difficulty moving should have a phone in their bedroom and, if possible, should sleep on the ground floor.
    • Test doors before you open them. While kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up as high as you can and touch the door, the knob, and the space between the door and its frame with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, use another escape route. If the door is cool, open it with caution.
    • If you are trapped, close the doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors to keep smoke out. Wait at a window and signal for help with light-colored cloth or a flashlight. If there’s a phone in the room, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you are.
  • Get Out Fast
    • In case of a fire, don’t stop for anything. Do not try to rescue possessions or pets. Go directly to your meeting place, and then call the fire department from your neighbor’s phone or an alarm box. Every member of your household should know how to call the fire department.
    • Crawl low under smoke. Smoke contains deadly gases, and heat rises. Cleaner air will be near the floor. If you encounter smoke using your primary exit, use your alternative escape plan. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) above the floor.
  • And Stay Out
    • Once you are out of your home, don’t go back for any reason. If people are trapped, the fire fighters have the best chance of rescuing them. The heat and smoke of a fire are overpowering. Fire fighters have the training, experience, and protective equipment needed to enter burning buildings.
  • Play It Safe
    • Smoke detectors: More than half of all fatal home fires happen at night, while people are asleep. Smoke detectors sound an alarm when a fire starts, waking people before they are trapped or overcome by smoke. With smoke detectors, your risk of dying in a home fire is cut nearly in half. Install smoke detectors outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home, including the basement. Follow installation instructions carefully, and test smoke detectors monthly. Change batteries at least once a year. If your detector is more than 10 years old, replace it.
    • Automatic sprinkler systems attack a fire in its early stages by spraying water only on the area where the fire has begun. Consider including sprinkler systems in plans for new construction and installing them in existing homes.
  • W.H.A.L.E. (WHave A Little Emergency)

The WHALE Program is an identification and information package for child car safety seats created by Connie Day, a caregiver from Richmond, Va., who wondered what would happen to the children in her car in the event of an automobile accident. The first program of its kind in the United States, WHALE is currently used in 32 states. It requires the use of four self-adhesive stickers and one Information Label:

  • One Information Label attached to the rear of the car seat provides important information about that child in the seat, such as name, date of birth, medical history, and who to contact in case of an emergency. If placed on the back of the seat, this label will not be visible from outside of the vehicle, thus ensuring the privacy of these personal facts.
  • Two WHALE Car Seat Stickers, attached to the sides of the safety seat, and two WHALE Vehicle Stickers, attached to the rear windows of the vehicle, depict the WHALE logo and alert rescuers that the vehicle occupants participate in the program.

Fire Extinguishers

  • Geneva firefighters train dozens of people every year in the proper use of fire extinguishers. The Geneva Fire Department offers classes in the proper use of fire extinguishers to businesses in the City of Geneva. To arrange a class for your business, contact the Fire Chief. Below are some tips for using a fire extinguisher properly. This site DOES NOT eliminate the need to take a class. Before fighting a fire:
    • Be sure you know how to operate your fire extinguisher and know the proper technique for fighting fires.
    • Be sure you have an unobstructed escape route should you fail to extinguish the fire.
    • Know what materials are burning, and be sure the extinguisher you are using is capable of fighting the fire. Consider the possible danger posed by hazardous or highly flammable materials near the fire area. It is reckless to fight a fire under any other circumstances. Instead, leave immediately, closing all doors leading to the fire area as you exit.

    Remember the PASS-word

    Keep your back to an exit and, depending on the size of your extinguisher, stand 10 to 20 feet away from the fire. Follow the four-step PASS procedure. If the fire does not begin to go out immediately, leave the area at once.

    WARNING: Portable fire extinguishers discharge faster than most people think — many within 15 to 30 seconds.

    • PULL the pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher.
    • AIM low: Point the extinguisher hose (or nozzle) at the base of the fire.
    • SQUEEZE the lever: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge. (See special operating instructions for cartridge-operated dry-chemical extinguishers.)
    • SWEEP from side to side: Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire reignites, repeat the process. Always be sure the fire department inspects the fire site, even if you think you’ve extinguished the fire.

To schedule a fire prevention program for your group, e-mail requests to or call (315) 789-6305.