Editorial: Make an effort to help prevent fires at home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 2, 2002

With National Fire Prevention Week soon upon us, now’s a good time to think about what you can do to help keep the risk of a fire occurring at your home or workplace at a minimum.

Here are a few tips:

– Make sure there’s more than one way out of every room and have a meeting place so everyone will know where to go in case of an emergency.

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– Spring forward, fall back, and check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. When you change your clocks, also change the battery in your detectors. Daylight savings time ends Oct. 28 this year. Developing this habit is a good way to remember a simple task that can save your life. You should install smoke detectors outside every sleeping area and test them monthly.

– Remember as the weather gets cooler that space heaters need space, too. Remember to leave at least three feet of space around your heater. Unplug it when not in use.

– Make a clean sweep for autumn. If you have one, give your fireplace a fall cleaning and have your chimney inspected for soot build-up.

– In the kitchen, cook with care. The most frequent kitchen fire involves oil or grease that ignites during meal preparation. Care should be taken to prevent grease build-up in the stove or range hood. Water should never be used on such fires, as it will cause the burning liquid to spatter, spreading the fire. Have a lid for every pan or skillet that is in use. Put out fires by using the lids to shut off the oxygen to the fire.

– Keep a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen, and know how to use it.

– Family meetings to discuss escape routes in case of fire are a must. Children should be taught how to open windows and climb to safety.

– Do not overload electrical outlets or use extension cords in place of additional outlets.

– Smokers should check furniture for fallen cigarettes or embers which can smolder undetected for several hours before bursting into flames. Ensure careful use of smoking materials and extinguish in water before disposal.

– Never leave lit candles unattended.

Taking the time to incorporate a few safety tips like these could help prevent a tragedy that no one wants to experience.