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Fire Safety Blitz a worthy investment

As the Suffolk Department of Fire & Rescue’s Fire Safety Blitz program nears its third anniversary, the topic has never been more relevant.

On Friday, we published a story about the program, which puts firefighters on the streets in communities surrounding a house fire very soon after the blaze, when many neighbors are sure to be concerned about what started the fire and interested in doing whatever they can do to prevent a similar occurrence in their own home.

Also Friday came the heartbreaking news that firefighters located a 91-year-old man dead in his Holland-area home when they responded to a fire there. He apparently had been using a stove to heat the home, and combustible material was located too close to the stove.

Although a house fire can happen anytime, winter is a prime time for catastrophic fires in homes, and unsafe heating methods and devices as well as holiday decorations are major culprits.

There are no statistics, of course, on whether the Fire Safety Blitz program has ever prevented a fire, and there never will be. It’s impossible to know. But the program likely pays dividends far beyond the simple investment of the time it takes firefighters, while they’re not busy on other calls, to knock on doors and give residents information about fire prevention.

The program, so to speak, strikes “while the iron is hot,” Deputy Chief Ted Adams of Suffolk Fire & Rescue said. The timing of the program after a house fire near them ensures residents will be less likely to think it can’t happen to them and more likely to pay attention to the information offered by the firefighters.

Even a minor house fire can disrupt a family’s life for months, and the loss of property, severe injury or death that come on the heels of a catastrophic house fire are too tragic for words. One fire prevented through this program makes it all worthwhile.