HTFD Chief Matthew Cardile recaps Fire Prevention Month

The following was written by Harrison Township Fire Department Chief Matthew Cardile and shared by Harrison Township:

October was fire prevention month and I wanted to take a minute to go over some fire safety tips for your home. With this year’s topic focusing on cooking safety here are some facts and suggestions on how to serve up fire safety in your home.

• Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire safety injuries.
• Thanksgiving is the leading day for fires involving cooking equipment.
• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food.
• If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly.
• Always keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it’s cool.
• Keep anything that can catch on fire away from your stovetop.
• Loose clothing can hang down onto stove burners and catch fire. Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
• Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared or carried.

Smoke alarms are the best way to ensure you get out of your house if it catches fire. They can mean the difference between life or death, a working smoke alarm can cut your risk of dying in a home fire in half. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and in every level of the home, including the basement.

Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button. If they have a 9-volt battery you should change those batteries out every 6 months. Change your clocks, change your batteries. Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.

Speaking on how to respond, another fun thing to do with the family is to create a home escape plan. Getting the kids involved to help design the plan can help them understand where they need to go and what to do when they get there.

Here are some tips on how to create an escape plan and what you should include.

• Drawing a map of each level of your the home, showing all doors and windows.
• Going to each room and pointing to two ways out.
• Making sure someone will help children, older adults, and people with disabilities wake up and get out.
• Teaching children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them.
• Establishing a meeting place outside and away from the home where everyone can meet after exiting.
• Pushing the smoke alarm button to start the drill.
• Practicing what to do in case there is smoke: Get low and go. Get out fast.
• Practicing using different ways out and closing doors behind you as you leave.
• Never going back for people, pets, or things.
• Going to your outdoor meeting place.
• Calling 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone.

During next month’s fire safety tips, I will discuss fire safety in the winter months. In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact my office at (856) 478-6832 or by email at matt@htfd23.com.