Dear Readers:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The Auglaize County Council on Aging Board and Staff hopes everyone had a wonderful Christmas season, and a happy New Year. We wish you a safe, happy and prosperous year.

Unfortunately, as the cold weather is now upon us, so is the increase of a chance of fires. The Division of State Fire Marshall urges Ohio families to pay particular attention to fire safety this winter.

 

HOME HEATING AND FIRE PREVENTION SAFETY TIPS…

Smoke Detectors, when properly installed and maintained, provide early warning when fire occurs. For the greatest protection, install a smoke detector on every level of your home and inside each sleeping area.

Test smoke detectors at least once a month to ensure that they are working properly. Vacuum the dust from inside the detector at least once a year. Batteries in battery-operated detectors should be changed twice a year or whenever a detector “chirps” to signal low battery power. Never “borrow” a smoke detector’s battery for another item’s use. A disabled detector cannot save your life. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years, or according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Develop an escape plan with two ways out from each room. Practice your fire escape plan with the family – include fire drills in the middle of the night – to ensure that everyone knows what to do if there is a fire and the smoke detectors sound.

 

 

FIREPLACES AND HEATERS…

  • Before starting a fire in the fireplace, remove all decorations, and be sure the flue is open.
  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. They can burn extremely fast, throwing off sparks and can ignite creosote that has previously accumulated in the chimney.
  • Always use a screen in front of the fireplace. Also consider using a fire-resistant carpet or mat (made for fireplaces) on the floor in front of the fireplace.
  • Keep all combustible materials at least three feet away from any heater – space heaters need space.
  • When plugging in electric heaters, make sure that the outlet was designed to handle the load. Be safe. Do not plug anything else into the socket with the heater.
  • When using kerosene heaters, make sure you only use the correct fuel. The wrong fuel may cause a fire or explosion. Only fill to 90 percent. Kerosene will expand once indoors. After the heater has cooled, take it outside to refuel.

 

 

COOKING…

  • Cooking related fires are the No. 1 cause of fires in the home.
  • Do not leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave, turn off all cooking appliances.
  • Keep combustible materials such as towels, potholders, papers, etc., away from heat sources on the stove or oven. Don’t wear loose fitting clothing while cooking.
  • Do not attempt to move a pan of grease that is on fire. Put a lid on the pan to smother the fire, then turn off the heat, or use an ABC-rated fire extinguisher. Alert your family so they can evacuate safely.
  • Be sure to turn pot handles towards the back of the stove. Small children are generally curious and may reach for a handle to see what is in the pot. They could get burned.
  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.

 

GENERAL FIRE SAFETY TIPS…

  • Make sure overnight guest also know your fire escape plan.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector if you have any appliance or device that has a flame – stove, water heater, furnace, fireplace, space heater, etc.
  • Do not use your stove or oven to heat your house.
  • Smoking-related fires are the number one cause of fire fatalities in Ohio. Provide plenty of large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently. Cigarette butts can smolder in the trash and cause a fire, so completely douse any smoking material with water before discarding.

 

IN CASE OF FIRE, FOLLOW YOUR ESCAPE PLAN…

Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 911 or your local emergency phone number.

  • If closed door or handles are warm, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
  • Crawl low under smoke.
  • Go to your outside meeting place and then call for help.

If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with the doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 911. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.