If your condo association calls the River Forest Fire Department and ask for a speaker on fire safety that is specific to your own building, you will be only the third group in decades to make such a request.

We were the second. It’s free. It’s vitally important. It’s personal. And it may save your life. I was stunned to hear that the department was equally stunned (and very pleased!) that we asked for their advice.

Do you feel safer because you live in a concrete building? What kind of alarm system do you depend on? What are your best escape routes?#34;balconies or stairways? Who is responsible for the evacuation of handicapped persons who cannot use stairways? Does your building have an enforceable procedure to ensure that every unit has a working smoke detector? If you’re careful about your own, you’d better be sure everybody else is careful about theirs, or your good safety practices will count for nothing. And more …

Lt. Robert Schoff brought along a number of crew members to check through the building while he made us think about the importance of preparing for an emergency before it happens?#34;and told us how to do it.

Where are the rest of you? I can’t believe this type of request is so rare. Whether you are in Oak Park or River Forest, give your firemen a call. They’ll be the happiest guests you’ve ever had!

Mary Goulding
River Forest

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