Oct. 7 to 13 is Fire Prevention Week, which was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 that killed 250 people and left more than 10,000 people homeless. In fact, the entire month of October is dedicated to National Fire Safety and Prevention, which is a perfect opportunity to talk to your family about fire safety.
Brecksville Fire Lt. Patrick Coleman has plenty of tips for local families for Fire Prevention Week and beyond. Here are some tips from Coleman to keep in mind as the weather gets colder:
- Get furnaces—and chimneys, if your family uses a fireplace—inspected at this time of year.
- If you are burning wood indoors, make sure it’s clean, dry and seasoned.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Make sure there are smoke detectors on all levels of the home and outside the bedrooms. Also make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector set up somewhere in the house. Change the batteries on the detectors during the Daylight Saving Time.
- Make sure your family knows at least two ways out of the house. Have a fire drill, especially if you have children.
- Keep bedroom doors closed at night—it helps keep smoke out if there is a fire.
- If you’re burning candles, keep them away from curtains and make sure they are in a container.
- But don’t just look at the obvious causes of fire: remember to clean out the lint trap in your dryer and replace it if the vent hose is plastic. The lint can catch fire and plastic can melt.
- Be sure to perform a monthly test of your smoke detectors throughout the year.
- Create a family escape plan from your home in case of a fire. Everyone in your home should know at least two ways out of each room. Also, be sure to have a meeting place outside your home.
- Don’t smoke in your home. If you do, never leave burning cigarettes unattended and don’t empty burning or hot ashes in a trash can.
- When cooking, keep anything that can catch on fire away from the stove including potholders, towels, long loose-fitting sleeves, etc. Also, never leave cooking food unattended and keep pot handles turned in when on the stove.
For more fire safety tips and facts, visit the National Fire Protection Association page.