Ch 9 - November 23, 2023 11:03 am

Lots of fires happen during the holidays as families are preparing feasts. News 9 talked with is Misty McClellan with the Red Cross about how to prevent and prepare for fires in the kitchen.

The State Fire Marshal‘s office offers the following tips for families:

Tips For Staying Fire Aware In Your Home

Create A Home Escape Plan

  1. Draw a map of all the rooms in your home. Show all doors and windows.
  2. Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. First, the door, then the window. Mark a path from each exit to the outside. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
  3. Include the location of all smoke alarms in your home.
  4. Have an outside meeting place in front of your home where everyone will meet. The meeting place should be a safe distance from the home and can include things like a tree, light pole, mailbox, etc. Avoid meeting where emergency vehicles will be approaching and parking. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
  5. Call 911 from outside your home.

Practice Your Home Escape Plan

  1. Practice your home fire drill during the day, then at dusk, then at night with everyone in your home, twice a year.
  2. Practice using different ways out.
  3. Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them. teach all family members to “get low and go” if they encounter any smoke on the way out. The smoke is more dangerous than the actual fire.
  4. Close doors behind you as you leave.

Concern for pets

  1. Never go back in for pets. Firefighters will do that once it’s safe. (Animals are smart; they will usually hide as far away from the fire as possible.)
  2. To avoid that problem, put your pet beds — and keep a leash close at hand — in bedrooms with family members who can take the dog or cat along as they evacuate.

Smoke alarms

  1. Install smoke alarms inside every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms have a 10-year lifespan. Even hard-wired alarms. Check for the “birth date” on the back of the unit.
  2. Test the alarms monthly. Have the kids there when you do. Have them cover their ears (in case they have auditory sensory issues, and to avoid scaring them even if they don’t) so they recognize the sounds of those alarms.
  3. If the smoke alarm sounds, GET OUT AND STAY OUT. Never go back inside for anything.

Reminders For Cold Weather Months

Portable And Space Heaters

  1. Portable heaters come in many shapes and sizes and use a variety of fuels or power sources. When buying or using a space or portable heater, make sure it carries a UL or FM label and is approved for your intended use.
  2. Place heating devices three feet away from combustibles, including paper, drapery, bedding, and clothing.
  3. Space heaters need constant watching. Turn them off when you leave home and before bedtime.
  4. Drying mittens or other combustibles over a space or portable heater is a fire danger.
  5. Make sure all cords are in good shape and check for any frays/breaks in the insulation surrounding the wires.
  6. Check the cord and outlet for overheating. If it feels hot, turn it off.

Liquid-Fueled And Gas-Burning Heaters

  1. Any heating appliance with an open flame needs to be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  2. When using these types of heating devices, follow manufacturers’ instructions and recommendations.
  3. Cool units before refueling; this should take place outside of the structure. Fuel must be stored in a container approved by the fire department and clearly marked with the fuel name.

Wood Stoves

  1. Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for proper installation, use, and maintenance.
  2. Properly ventilate the stove. Other household venting appliances can diminish proper venting. Test all other appliances (bathroom fans, stovetop venting, HVAC units, etc.) to ensure they don’t interfere with venting.
  3. Maintain clearances around stoves, flue pipes, and floors according to manufacturers’ recommendations.
  4. Check all connections at the beginning of the heating season.
  5. If you have questions about fire protection devices, contact your local fire department.

Fireplaces And Wood Burning Stoves

  1. Chimneys need to be inspected by a professional sweep prior to the start of each heating season and periodically throughout the year
  2. Have chimneys cleaned if there is a buildup of creosote. Creosote is a chemical substance that forms when wood burns and builds up on the chimney wall. It is highly combustible.
  3. Fireplace screens should be firmly in place when you burn fires.
  4. Burn only clean, well-seasoned, dry firewood in the fireplace.
  5. Make sure home smoke detectors are installed and working.

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