FIRE SAFETY MONTH: It's time to take a home tour

Staff Writer

Indiana’s fire marshal is encouraging Hoosier families to take fire safety seriously by planning evacuation routes for their homes as part of Fire Prevention month this October.

This year’s theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out,” reminds Hoosiers that seconds can mean the difference between safety and a tragedy.

“Smoke alarms save lives, but equally important is when Hoosiers are ready to act when those alarms sound,” said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson.

Greeson recommends that Hoosiers sit down with their households and complete the following:
•Draw a map of the home and, as a household, mark two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
•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.
•Teach children how to escape on their own in case help isn’t available.
•Make sure the number of the home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
•Practice closing doors while evacuating the home. This may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
•Once outside, stay at the established meeting point. Never go back inside a burning building.

Practicing escape routes can be a good time for households to also verify that their home is free of fire hazards.
“Most fires are preventable.” Greeson said. “It’s up to all of us to prevent fires where we live, where we work, everywhere.”

Greeson suggests looking for the following hazards in a home:
•Electric cords that are worn, frayed or covered with clothing, blankets or furniture
•Candles that are closer than 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and/or that are in unstable holders that can accidentally be jostled by adults, children or pets
•Coffee makers or similar appliances that are too close to napkins, towels or paper, or that are that are operated under cabinets (the heat generated by a coffee maker can set wooden cabinets on fire)
•Built-up dryer lint (clean lint out after every dryer use)
•Blocked doors, windows and pathways that can prevent or slow down an escape
•Flammable items closer than three feet from fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or portable heaters;
•Extension cords permanently in use (they are for temporary use only)
•Extension cords connected to heat-producing appliances such as freezers, refrigerators, coffeemakers, microwaves or portable heaters (never use extensions with such appliances)

Also, make sure smoke alarms are installed and working on every level of a home, and inside and outside bedrooms. Every bedroom should have a smoke alarm in it.

More info: GetPrepared.IN.gov.

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