Weekly Feature

2013-10-09 / Editorials

Fire departments have knowledge to enhance safety

Bee Editorial

During National Fire Prevention Week, which runs through Saturday, Oct. 12, attention is focused on promoting fire safety and prevention; however, we should practice fire safety all year long.

Potential fire hazards can go undetected because people simply do not take steps to fireproof their home. Many fires are caused by misuse or poor maintenance of electrical devices, careless use of candles, smoking in bed and children playing with matches and lighters. Most potential hazards can be addressed with a little common sense.

For example, be sure to keep flammable items such as bedding, clothes and curtains at least 3 feet away from portable heaters or lit candles, and never smoke in bed.

The following checklist may better prepare your home:

• Install and maintain a working smoke alarm outside every sleeping area, and remember to change the battery at least once a year. Fire prevention experts advise changing batteries when daylight saving time starts and ends.

• Designate two escape routes from each bedroom and practice them regularly.

• Teach everyone the “stop, drop and roll” technique in case clothing catches on fire.

• Teach children that matches, lighters and candles are tools, not toys. If you suspect that a child is playing with fire, check under beds and in closets for telltale signs, such as burned matches. Lighters and matches should be stored in a secure drawer or cabinet.

• Make sure that electrical cords are in good condition (not damaged). Also check that appliances and lights are plugged into separate electrical outlets.

• Ensure that all escape routes are clear of clutter and easily accessible and that curtains and other items that can burn are away from the stovetop. • Check that portable space heaters are off whenever a grownup leaves the room and goes to sleep. Also, move portable space heaters 3 feet away from anything that can burn.

• Check that the clothes dryer has a clean vent and filter (no lint buildup) and that the furnace has been inspected in the past year.

If you have questions, we urge you to have a representative of your fire department come and inspect your home. Further information can be found on the National Fire Prevention Association’s website, www.nfpa.org.

Fire departments across the town will be holding open houses in recognition of fire prevention week. We hope you will take the time to visit your local fire department. You might learn something that could benefit the lives of you and your family.

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