Friday, January 6, 2012

Resolve to be Safe in 2012

Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service suggests making one that can truly benefit you and your family - - - resolve to be fire safe in 2012. Fire risks increase as the temperatures decrease and recent fire deaths across the country are tragic reminders that people need to take action now to be safe during the winter months. 

“There are two basic “Must Haves” that are integral to fire safety year-round, but especially this time of year,” said Fire Chief Richard Bowers. “We know that having working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, in combination with a home escape plan, saves lives. We’re asking residents to ensure these life-saving devices are present and functional in their homes.”

Fire Safety Tips   

-  Install working smoke alarms on every level of your home including basements and in all sleeping areas. If your alarms are hard-wired, be sure they have a battery back-up.

-  Consider sleeping with bedroom doors closed. Closed doors provide a barrier against smoke and may provide more time to escape time in the event of a fire. If you sleep with bedroom doors closed, make sure everyone can hear the smoke alarm or consider installing one inside the bedroom.    

-  All smoke alarms have expiration dates and should be replaced every ten years, even if they appear to be working. Follow manufacturer recommendations for a replacement schedule.

-  Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and batteries changed annually. A “chirping” sound may indicate that your battery is low and needs to be changed right away.

-  Make sure your home is equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths and, unlike fire, carbon monoxide cannot be seen, has no smell and without a detector you may be at risk.  

Heating Equipment
Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months. In fact, half of all heating fires occur in the months of December, January and February.

- Space heaters should be kept at least three feet from anything that can burn. Always turn off  space heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep.

- Don’t use extension cords with space heaters. The high amount of current they require could melt the cord and start a fire.

- When purchasing portable heaters, look for units with automatic shut-off features.

- Never use a gas range or oven as a substitute for a furnace or space heater. 

- Fireplace ashes can maintain enough heat to re-ignite for several days after a fire. When cleaning out the ashes, always assume they are still hot and use a metal can to contain them in for disposal. The metal can should be stored away from the home (never in an attached garage, breezeway or on a deck).

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent kitchen fires.

- Never leave cooking unattended. Turn off the burner if you need to leave the room.

- Wear appropriate clothing and avoid long, flowing sleeves and open, loose-fitting shirts that can easily come in contact with hot burners.

- Keep anything that can catch fire - - potholders, towels, wooden utensils, food packaging and curtains - - away from the stovetop.  

- Always unplug appliances. Not only can it save money and energy, it’s safer should there be a power surge or electrical malfunction.

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