With temperatures dropping, October is the perfect time to brush up on fire safety and prevention using these helpful tips.
Fire can strike without warning, but there are many simple things you can do to protect yourself and your family. October is National Fire Safety Month, and as good a time as any to be proactive and minimize your risk. Here are the main things to keep in mind as blustery fall weather sets in:
• Create a “fire-free” zone. Clear leaves, pine needles, brush, dead grass and twigs from around your house for at least 30 feet in all directions. In pine forests, the U.S. Fire Administration recommends a minimum safety zone of 100 feet.
• Can those ashes. They may look like they are completely out, but ashes often contain tiny embers that can start big fires. Always dump them in a metal trash can, away from buildings.
• Check your chimney. Clean it regularly — check for obstructions, excess creosote, loose mortar and cracks in the flue. Don’t neglect the firebox, stove gaskets or pipe connections. (For more about wood heat safety, we highly recommend www.woodheat.org, a site managed by MOTHER EARTH NEWS contributer John Gulland. — MOTHER)
• Don’t hide. Make sure your house number is clearly visible from the road. Firefighters can’t help you if they can’t find you.
• Watch the wind. It can quickly turn a small trash fire into a raging inferno.
• Be alarmed. Have multiple smoke alarms in your home and test them monthly. Install new batteries every spring and fall.
• Cook carefully. Cooking causes more fires than home heating. Keep a pan lid nearby in case a grease fire starts in a frying pan, and never turn your back on a deep fryer.
• Call the fire department. Dial 911 at the first sign of trouble and get everyone out of the house. Don’t wait or try to extinguish the flames yourself.
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