Ten Important Fire Safety Reminders
The Marion Fire Department has responded to several fires recently and offers these 10 important fire safety tips. These are general fire safety tips and are not directly related to the recent fires.
- Have working smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are the best thing to warn you about a fire once a fire has started. They provide you early warning so that you can safely exit the building. Sadly, most fatalities from fires occur in homes without working smoke detectors. You should have a smoke detector in every bedroom, outside of the sleeping areas and on each level of your home. Make sure you check your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
- Have a meeting place. Once you safely get out of the building, everyone gather at a meeting place that is a safe distance from the building but close enough to communicate with the Fire Department. The department will need to know if everyone is out of the building or not.
- Use licensed contractors. All work involving your building’s electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems needs to be completed by qualified repair people. Many fires have been started because people have tried to perform electrical or other repair work when they did not have the knowledge to safely do it.
- Limit the use of extension cords. Extension cords should not be used to provide power for electrical equipment in place of a permanent outlet. Extension cords are designed to be used to provide power for things not normally used, and that typically means for a few hours. Extension cords can overheat and start a fire.
- Do not cover electrical cords. Never run any type of electrical cord under a rug or anything else that will cover it up. All electrical cords produce heat and must have space around them in order for the heat to dissipate.
- Charge devices on a hard surface. Use caution when charging devices like cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc. because they can get very hot while charging. They need to be on a solid surface and not covered up so the heat can dissipate.
- Dispose of smoking materials properly. If you are a smoker, ideally smoke outside and NEVER smoke in bed. Numerous fires have been started by improperly discarded smoking materials. This also includes hot ashes from ash trays which can stay hot for more than a day in an ash tray. Before putting ashes or smoking materials in the trash, make sure they are soaked with water.
- Take care with space heaters. Space heaters need to be UL listed with tip over protection. They also need to be plugged directly into an outlet with 36” of clear space of anything that can burn around the space heater.
- Be careful when using candles. The smallest open flame can burn your house down. Candles need to be placed in a safe holder so they cannot tip over. Candles should not be placed near anything that can burn, particularly by curtains near an open window. You need to be especially careful if you have pets that can tip over the candle. Lastly, NEVER leave a candle burning if you are going to be asleep or are leaving your house.
- Stay attentive in the kitchen. Cooking fires remain the most common cause of fires in the United States. Almost all cooking fires have one thing in common, and that is that they are unattended. It is easy to get distracted by the TV, a phone call, social media, or sometimes even fall asleep. The best way to prevent a cooking fire is to make sure you keep an eye on it.
These are just some reminders that will hopefully prevent a fire from occurring.