October is Fire Prevention Month

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October is Fire Prevention Month, and local emergency responders are urging area residents to check the batteries in their fire alarms and make sure wiring on all portable heating units is intact.

Chuck Miner, assistant fire chief with the Cassville Fire Protection District, said when Daylight Saving Time ends on Nov. 3 is the perfect time for area residents to check batteries in fire alarms.

"We urge people to check their batteries twice a year," Miner said. "When the time changes in the fall and in the spring.

"We also have fire alarms at the station for district residents who don't have one installed in their home," he said.

Fire prevention awareness is being taught at school and in daycare facilities to reach children of all ages.

Miner also said with temperatures dipping, it's a good time for homeowners to check wiring on alternative heating sources, such as portable heaters, and make sure fireplace chimneys are cleaned and ready for use.

Other practical tips to keep the holidays and winter months safe for area families include:

* Never overloading circuits or extension cords.

* Not placing cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas.

* Immediately shutting off and unplugging appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell.

* Keeping combustible items at least three feet away from a portable heat source.

* Keeping fire in the fireplace by using fire screens and having the chimney cleaned annually. Creosote buildup in the inside of chimney walls can ignite a chimney fire that can easily spread to the rest of the home.

* Kerosene heaters should be used only where approved. If using a generator to provide heat, keep the unit outside in a well-ventilated area where dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can't collect.

* Developing and practicing an escape plan from every room in the house. Caution family members to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Pre-determine a location where family members should meet after escaping the house.

* Not allowing small children to play with matches or lighters.

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