- Special Sections
- Public Notices
When I am asked to write or talk about fire prevention, I take the request very seriously due to the importance of the material being presented. Unfortunately, like everyone else, I am human and the writing deadlines seem to always creep up on me, just like this week. However, for once, I believe the tight time frame has helped me with this week’s fire prevention topic.
Usually I pick a topic that I feel will be relevant to you, whether it be because of the time of year – such as firework safety during July or Carbon Monoxide poisoning prevention during the winter months – or a topic that brings to light some of the emergency calls the fire departments have been responding to in the last few weeks in hopes that the knowledge passed along will help to curb the rash of incidents. However, like I said before, we are human and our kids, our parents, our homes and our lives seem to overwhelm us at times, and we don’t realize the actions we are doing that might put the ones we love in jeopardy if a fire were to occur. For this reason, this week’s fire prevention education has to deal with the small and quick things we can do to change our lifestyles and make our homes, businesses, schools and churches more fire safe and, ultimately, reduce the chances that a fire will occur.
When fire inspections are performed on businesses, there are things we look for that will help to prevent a fire. More importantly, we look for other safe practices that will allow the people inside a chance to escape should a fire occur.
When firefighters are doing a walkthrough, we are checking that the exit signs are illuminated, emergency lighting will activate when the power is lost, there is adequate spacing between storage and sprinkler heads and so forth. Many of these things don’t necessarily apply to your home unless you have a residential sprinkler system in your house or emergency lighting. However, many other things will apply.
When we are checking a business office, we check to ensure the floor is not cluttered with items, the exit doors and windows are not blocked and there are not holes in the walls or ceilings.
Let me tell you why. Things on the floor create tripping hazards.
When there is an emergency and your adrenaline is pumping then everything becomes second nature, your vision becomes narrowed and you just want to get out. You tend not to notice those things on the floor that, before, you would have taken the extra time to step over and not step on. Objects such as furniture or exercise equipment in front of doors and windows turn into things that delay your escape, and time counts when a fire statistically doubles in size every minute.
Holes in walls and ceilings? The absence of drywall helps the fire to move from room to room faster, causing more and more fire damage and reducing your chances for escape.
Listed here are a few more ideas to think about with your family. Talk it over during dinner and see if you can be just a little more fire safe than you were yesterday. If you would like any more information feel free to call the firehouse (502) 732-7041 or you can email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Clean dryer vents and traps periodically to prevent build up of dryer lint, and replace hoses every few years.
• Clean cooking hoods at least yearly (more often if you are an avid cook) to prevent a buildup of grease in the traps.
• Give your appliances room to breath (such as the refrigerator). Pull them away from the wall to prevent the electrical cord from becoming pinched and give the compressor fresh air to cool.
• Have your furnace and air conditioner serviced yearly to ensure it is in working order.
• Have your fire place inspected and cleaned yearly to prevent creosote buildup.
• Change your batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detector twice a year when the time changes, even if they are hard wired into your home’s electrical system.
• Completely replace your smoke detector every 10 years and your carbon monoxide detector every seven years.
• If you paint your window sills, check to ensure they will open and are operational after the paint dries.
• Keep your gasoline, oils, lawnmowers and grills stored in an outside building if possible.
• Keep bushes and trees planted close to doors and windows trimmed to allow a clear path should you need to escape through a window or door.
• Keep your grass cut at an acceptable height to prevent dangerous vegetation fires during the dry season (The tall grass also makes it difficult for emergency responders to notice items sitting or laying in the grass and might cause injuries or delay firefighting operations).
• Ensure your home is marked with your address with a minimum of three inch letters / numbers (If your home sits back off the road mark your mailbox or a yard stake with reflective markings).
Greg Beck is deputy chief of Carrollton Fire Department and a resident of Carrollton, Ky.