Fire safety important all year

Published 9:15 pm Friday, May 15, 2015

This might not be the time of year that most people are worried about the dangers of fires in the home, but fire departments remain busy even during the summer, because the risk of fire never really goes away when folks are dealing with everything from electrical systems to outdoor fire pits.

There is a greater risk of fires in the winter because of the use of fireplaces, candles, Christmas decorations and heating systems. But warm spring weather should not lull folks into a false sense of security. Instead, take the chance of warm weather to make some fire safety assessments and changes.

  • If you live in a place that’s been around a long time, consider hiring an electrician to inspect wiring, connections and outlets for potential problems. Renters can contact their landlords for a history of the apartment or house to help determine if such inspection is necessary.
  • Regularly check smoke detectors and annually replace batteries; if you don’t yet have such devices, buy and install them as soon as possible.
  • When cooking during warm weather, it can be tempting to leave the kitchen to get away from the heat. But stay around and keep an eye on things when you’re frying, grilling or using an open flame.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children.
  • Develop an escape route or two in the event of a fire. Families can also practice fire drills from time to time so that everyone will be prepared, but not panic.
  • Find a way for everyone to sound a family alarm. Yelling, pounding on walls, whistles, etc. Practice yelling “Fire!”
  • If you’re not sure what more you can do, contact Suffolk Fire and Rescue for more ideas.

The American Red Cross ( also offers a home safety checklist, with suggestions such as keeping a watchful eye while cooking or avoid smoking in bed.

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Following suggestions like these can reduce or eliminate fire and smoke that damages, injures or kills.