Fire prevention tips always good

Published 10:14 pm Friday, May 11, 2018

The outbreak this week of a wildfire that has burned 25 acres so far near Holland Road is a good reminder that the summer burn ban is in effect.

The burn ban is a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality-imposed restriction to help improve the city’s air quality and reduce the number of responses for refuse, grass, brush and woodland fires. The open burn ban includes all types of burning, from burning in a barrel to commercial land clearing operations. Devices like fire bowls and chimineas are exempt from the ban, but a responsible person must constantly attend the fire and have some method of extinguishment at hand.

The fire on Holland Road was likely started by lightning, according to city officials. But it’s a good illustration of how quickly things can happen and how important it is to comply with the burn ban.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

In addition to the wildfire reported Friday, there have been quite a number of home fires lately. Even though winter is the most common time for fires at home, fire safety tips always bear repeating — even in May.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food.
  • Keep children away from cooking areas.
  • Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings and out from under eaves and branches.
  • Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.
  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away.
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off.
  • Don’t smoke in bed or if you have been drinking or using medication that makes you drowsy.
  • Replace frayed wires and damaged cords.
  • Shut off and have a professional replace light switches that are hot to the touch or lights that flicker.
  • Teach children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
  • Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight.
  • Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles.