As I write this article we are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic which is changing how we live our lives, not only today but for the future.

The weather is finally warming up so at least we can spend sometimes outdoors; that sunshine and exercise will hopefully decrease the stress and anxiety we have all been experiencing.

As strange as it sounds, our fire/ems call volume has decreased, not by a little, but by a lot. EMS is understandable, due to new protocol for handling medicals due to the virus.

But the fire calls have also diminished. Perhaps this is because when you are at home you are more aware of your surroundings in your home and tend to notice things before they happen. Maybe it is because we are all paying more attention to our actions and are more safety orientated than ever before. Since you are home with a little time on your hands, it might be a good time to review fire safety for your home.

Here are a few thoughts and please share this with all members of your household:

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Exit Drills :What would you do in a fire in your home? Practice having two ways out of your home. If one is blocked, you need another way out. Don’t wait for the fire to figure this out. Make this a family activity where you all actively participate. Look at everyone’s rooms and ask them, if you woke up at night and heard the fire alarm, what would you do? Explain the importance of having a meeting place outside and a neighbor who you can go to in order to call 911.

Smoke Detectors/Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Make sure they are in working order. A smoke detectors life span is about 10 years. If you have anything older, replace it with a new one. You can’t smell smoke when you sleep so a working smoke detector will warn you to get out and save your life. Carbon Monoxide Detectors help detect an invisible, odorless gas in your home which can kill, take a minute and check that detector and look at where you have it placed in the home so you are getting the maximum amount of protection.

Lock your Doors: Always lock your doors. This is important to discuss with your children, that not only your house doors should be locked but your garage and vehicle doors. Most intruders will try that door and if locked will move on to find an easier target.

Candles:-Never leave a candle unattended. This means always have them in sight and never leave them alone in a room without putting them out. Especially if you have children or pets in the home, a tipped over candle can start a fire quickly.

Cooking: Don’t get preoccupied with something else while you are baking something in the oven or cooking something on the stove. Keep towels and flammable items away from your stove surface. A fire in the kitchen can get out of control in a matter of minutes.

Grilling: If you are using charcoal, be aware of embers that may fall through the vents and may be blown elsewhere. Also keep that grill outside and away from your home while it cools down after cooking. Move your grill (gas & charcoal) at least three feet from any combustible materials, which includes your garage and home. Clean your grill and the grease traps before you using to prevent flare ups and a possible from starting. Also never leave a grill unattended and make sure it off before moving closer to your home/garage. (Gas-flame off, gas turned off and cooled down. Charcoal- embers completely cold and grill cold to the touch)

Gasoline and other flammables: Keep in a container that manufactured for carrying gas and in a safe area outside of the home, such as a garage or shed. Keep away from sparking or flame producing products such as a furnace.

Please take a moment and discuss safety in the home with you family. During this trying time we are all standing together, just six feet apart.

Have a fire safe May.