Fire Chief Rick Prasad says that winter is often the busiest season for Kimberley’s Fire Department, and he reminds people of the importance of reducing fire risk in their homes.
Prasad offers the following tips for the holiday season and through the winter:
Heating appliances such as space heaters should not have anything combustible close by and need at least one metre (three feet) of space around them. Inspect the electrical cord attached. If it overheats, you have a fire hazard. Be sure to never overload a circuit. And definitely keep young children away from them.
Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which damage structures, destroy homes and injure or kill people. Indications of a chimney fire have been described as creating loud cracking and popping noises, dense smoke, and an intense, hot smell. Chimney fires occur often in Kimberley and in most cases it us because the chimney has not been cleaned. Ensure chimneys are cleaned and professionally inspected regularly.
Smoking while in bed, tired or under the influence of alcohol or medication still remains one of the most common cause of fires that kill. It is always safer to smoke outside and never smoke in bed. Mattresses and bedding can catch on fire easily. Many other things in your home can catch on fire if they touch something hot like a cigarette or ashes. Never walk away from lit cigarettes and other smoking materials. Put water on the ashes and butts to make sure they are really out before you put them in the trash. Be sure to never smoke after using anything that may impair your judgment including alcohol, prescription and non-prescription drugs. When impaired you may not be able to prevent or escape from a fire. And, definitely do not smoke near medical oxygen. Medical oxygen can explode if a flame or spark is near.
Christmas trees can be extremely flammable. Check the tree daily to ensure that it has water to maintain its moisture. Be sure to check the wiring and lights are used in accordance with the manufactures specifications and are in good condition. And, be sure to never overload the power circuits.
If you plug your vehicle in, be sure to use a suitable extension cord that can handle high currents. It is recommended that vehicles be parked away from any structures in the event that a fire may develop. Interior car heaters must be free of any material that may cause a fire and must be used as directed by the manufacturer.
And lastly, test and inspect all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Ensure that the batteries are not over 6 months old and that the alarms are not over 10 years old. Some devices may even require that they be replaced within a shorter time span. In most cases there is a date tag on the alarm to refer to.
If you have any other concerns, please contact the Fire Department at 250-427-4114 weekdays from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm or email us at Fire@Kimberley.ca.
“Have a happy holiday and be safe,” Prasad said.