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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Fire Safety 101 

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  • While many of the tips Fire Marshal Randall McBee will be sharing with community members during fire prevention week are “common sense,” McBee believes it’s always a good idea to give people a refresher course.?“Just be careful,” he said. “... We just want everybody to stay safe. We don’t want to have any house fires or anyone to get burned.”?Fire prevention week is Oct. 7 through 13, and the Newton Fire/EMS department will be visiting local schools and sharing information about fire safety; conducting fire drills; and giving fire station tours. McBee said this year’s theme is “2 Ways Out,” which encourages people to have at least two escape routes from a room in case of a fire.?Every family needs to have a fire escape plan, McBee said. Draw a map of your house showing all doors and windows, and diagram at least two ways to escape from every room. Set up a place where family members should meet after exiting the house, such as a mailbox or a tree. Perform a head count, and if not all family members are present, notify the fire department when they arrive. Don’t try to enter a burning house on your own.?“Once you’re out, never go back inside,” McBee said.?McBee recommends practicing this escape plan twice a year and putting a copy of the plan on the refrigerator so it remains fresh in family members’ minds.?Change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year, and keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children. Simply keeping them in a cabinet may not be secure enough.?“Kids are pretty smart, even the little ones,” McBee said. “... Kids are naturally going to be curious.”?When you are cooking, don’t leave a pan on the stove unattended. If the food in the pan catches fire, smother it with a lid and turn off the stove. If you think the fire is too far advanced, get out of the house right away and call 911.?Keep combustibles at least three feet away from space heaters, and avoid plugging too many items into an outlet. A safer choice is to use a power strip with an internal circuit breaker. If you use extension cords outside, make sure to purchase ones that are approved for outdoor use.?McBee also encourages people to be aware of fire hazards around the holidays. Consider using a flashlight or battery-operated candle inside Halloween jack-o’-lanterns, instead of a real candle, and keep other Halloween decorations away from open flames.?If you decide to deep fat fry a turkey for Thanksgiving, don’t leave the fryer unattended, and use caution with Christmas fire hazards such as lights and extension cords.?For more information on fire safety, visit www.nfpa.org.
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