Fire safety crucial year around

Published 10:17 am Saturday, January 10, 2015

The grease fire that erupted on Thursday evening in the home of a Dorchester Square Apartments resident could have been tragic. Thankfully, the occupant evidently acted quickly in the situation by immediately getting out and calling for help.

Within minutes the Franklin Fire and Rescue crews got the situation under control. Though the unit was burned out, at least there weren’t any injuries.

This incident brings to mind that we all need to be vigilant about fire safety year around.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has often stressed that the most important fire safety tip is to ensure your smoke alarms are working by pushing the test button. If they aren’t, get new batteries or new detectors promptly.

Here are a few tips to prevent fires and other hazards:

• Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop, so you can keep an eye on the food.

• Never leave children alone in a room with lit candles.

• Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children.

• Keep the floor clear, so you don’t trip.

With cold weather here to stay for a few months, home fires are more common because of improper use of heating equipment. Also from the National Fire Protection Association, here are some tips to prevent home heating fires and related hazards:

• Have your furnace inspected and served by a qualified professional.

• Have your chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional, and check for creosote build-up, which is the leading cause of chimney fires.

• Test your carbon monoxide alarms.

• Teach children to stay at least three feet away from the fireplace, wood stove, oil stove or other space heaters.

To winterize your home, FEMA recommends:

• Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.

• Protect pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.

• Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.

• Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.