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National Fire Prevention Month hits home with BCFD

Seems like there’s a National Day, Week, or Month for just about anything these days.

According to the National Day Calendar, Oct. 5 alone marks National Apple Betty Day, National Get Funky Day, and National Do Something Nice Day.

These “awareness” calendar designations can be fun and random, but also strike important subject matters, like October being the official National Fire Prevention Month.

This tribute was created by the National Fire Prevention Association® (founded in 1896) that in 1922 instituted National Fire Prevention Week. It was observed the week of Oct. 9 to commemorate the date of the Great Chicago Fire, in 1871. Years later, the organization expanded its awareness to the entire month of October.

The Boulder City Fire Department, in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association celebrates Fire Prevention Week in our city with a fire safety awareness campaign. They will also hold an open house and pancake breakfast on Oct. 14, from 8 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (at the station on Elm St.) where you can meet our first responders and check out life-saving equipment.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Cooking Safety Starts With YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention.” Per our Deputy Fire Chief, Greg Chesser, “Cooking fires can grow quickly, so being attentive is so important while cooking …I have seen many homes damaged and people injured by fires that could easily have been prevented. Awareness could save your kitchen, your home – even your life.”

For more information about Fire Prevention Week and cooking safety, visit www.fpw.org. You can also learn about fun fire safety for kids at www.sparky.org .

While cooking is by far the leading cause of home fires and injuries, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires. Especially notorious are space heaters.

Manufacturer’s safety warnings should be strictly adhered to when using them. NFPA has a list of home safety practices that can help prevent fires caused by heating equipment, including the following:

■ Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment.

■ Maintain a three-foot ‘kid-free zone’ around home fires and space heaters.

■ Never use your oven to heat your home.

■ Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, and central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

■ Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving a room or going to bed.

Another hot spot in the home for fires is the dryer. NFPA reports that the leading factor of home fires from dryers is due to failing to clean the lint filter and exhaust duct. Here are a few dryer fire preventions tips:

■ Make sure lint filters are cleaned after running each load.

■ Dust behind and underneath the dryer, being careful not to disrupt the vent when pulling the dryer out for cleaning.

■ Keep the exterior vent cover clear from objects and debris.

■ Inspect your dryer vent at least annually and use a dryer duct cleaning kit to clear out lint build-up. Never dry articles that have been in contact with flammable substances—hang dry only.

A good way to tell if you have dryer vent build-up is if your clothes are taking longer than usual to dry. To verify if you have build-up, run the dryer and check the vent outside to see if there’s a strong flow of hot air blowing out. Very often folks think their dryer is broken when clothes take forever to dry. Meanwhile all they need to do to fix the problem is clean the vent. You can buy a proper dryer vent kit for about $25. Besides helping to prevent fire and reduce drying time, a clean vent can help conserve energy and extend the life of your dryer.

An essential basic step for fire safety in the home is proper installation and maintenance of smoke detectors. Replace the batteries, wipe down the covers, and test the detector’s operation. Be sure to check for an expiration date on the unit itself. For more information on smoke detectors visit www.nfpa.org.

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