Take fire safety seriously

Indiana’s Fire Marshal encourages Hoosiers to take fire safety seriously by creating a household evacuation plan and resolving potential fire hazards as part of Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13.

This year’s theme, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere,” reminds Hoosiers that following a few simple steps can reduce the chances of a fire and help everyone evacuate safely.

“In most situations, it doesn’t take long to make safety changes in the home, but those quick fixes can have a lasting impact,” said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson.

Tragically, Indiana is on track for an increase in the number of fire-related deaths over the calendar year. The state has already recorded 67 fire-related deaths to date. In 2017, 70 fire-related deaths occurred.

Marshal Greeson suggests looking for the following hazards in a home:

Replace electric cords that are worn, frayed or covered with clothing, blankets or furniture.

Clean dryer lint traps out after every use.

Flammable items should not be closer than three feet from fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or portable heaters.

When looking for potential fire hazards check on the household’s smoke alarms, which provides an early warning sign of a fire.

“Smoke alarms are a vital component for fire safety,” Greeson said. “Households with properly placed, working and maintained smoke alarms are 50 percent more likely to escape a fire safely.”

Alarms should be replaced every eight to 10 years. Over time their sensors become less sensitive.

Smoke alarms should be tested every month to make sure they are still working.

Alarms should be placed at least 10 feet from a stove, as everyday cooking may be a trigger.

An established escape plan is an essential component of keeping the household safe. They help save time in a situation where seconds count and establish if individuals are trapped in the burning building.

Marshal Greeson recommends that Hoosiers sit down with their households and complete the following:

Practice home fire drills twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with all residents. Practice using different routes to safety.

If smoke, heat or flames block all established escape routes, stay in the room and call the fire department.

Once outside, stay at the established meeting point. Never go back inside a burning building.

For more information on fire prevention and safety, visit GetPrepared.IN.gov.

The Dearborn County Register & Journal Press

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