To the Citizens of Olmsted Township, December 4, 2017
With the Christmas Holiday and winter season upon us, the members of the Olmsted Township Fire Department want to remind everyone to make the necessary preparations so that you and your family are safe during this time:
Christmas Tree Safety
- If you have a real tree, make sure it is not too dry. Dry trees are perfect for catching fire and they go up quickly!
- If you have an artificial tree, be sure that it is flame retardant.
- Water your live tree daily. As a rule of thumb, your tree needs one quart of water for every inch of trunk diameter.
- Trees should be no closer (and if best farther) than 3 feet from candles, fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, heat vents and other heat sources.
- Turn off your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
Most home fires are preventable. Here are some guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that we would like to share with you to help ensure your safety this winter season:
- Have your furnace checked. It’s worth the money to hire a professional to inspect and service your furnace once a year. If it’s going to malfunction, it’s better to know ahead of time. Also, a malfunctioning furnace can produce dangerous carbon monoxide.
- Have your chimneys and vents checked. Fireplaces produce creosote which can ignite. If you light fires frequently, you will need a chimney sweep service annually to keep your chimney clean. When you burn wood, make sure it’s dry and seasoned so that it produces more flame and less smoke. Fuel fired appliances (stoves, furnaces, hot water tanks) that are not properly vented will keep unsafe levels of carbon monoxide in your home. Also, keep the dryer vent in and behind the dryer and to the outside clean. Excessive lint build-up is a common cause of fire.
- Test your smoke alarms. Make sure the batteries are fresh. Place smoke alarms in the kitchen, laundry room, on each level and in the bedrooms.
- Cover the fireplace with a screen. Tempered glass or a metal screen helps protect sparks from leaving the fireplace. Even so, make sure that children and pets sit at least three feet away when you light a fire in the fireplace.
- Beware of lit candles. Candles can set the mood for relaxation, and that’s how they can be forgotten or be knocked over by your children or pets. Light candles only when you’re around to watch them and blow them out when you’re ready to leave the room. This goes for cigarettes, pipes, etc. If you’re going to smoke, try to do it outside.
- Beware of space heaters. The name should give you a clue — space heaters need space. Don’t put a space heater near furniture curtains, tablecloths or other fluttering fabrics; keep them at least three (3) feet away from other objects. Make sure the space heaters you buy are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or other approved testing agency approved and have automatic shut-offs that activate before reaching dangerous temperatures.
- Know how to put out kitchen fires quickly. Water doesn’t help a grease fire; in fact it makes it worse! A kitchen fire is one of the most common home fires and can easily get out of control. Keep salt and baking soda on hand to sprinkle liberally on pan fires. Keep lids handy to put on top of pots and pans to smother and extinguish a fire. Never leave the kitchen unattended while cooking.
- Practice an escape route. Businesses have fire drills, your family should too. Teach your family to crawl to the nearest exit from every room as deadly smoke from a fire rises to the upper portion of a room/house; know two (2) ways out of each room. Show your family members how to stop, drop and roll if their clothes were ever to catch on fire.
- Fire extinguishers can be life-savers. Store one under the kitchen sink, and in the hall closet near the bedrooms. Make sure you use the correct type of extinguisher (ABC) — A for paper, wood and trash; B for grease and flammable liquids; C for small electrical fires. These need to be periodically tested also.
- All household members should know how to call 911. You may have heard the stories — a four-year old who saved his grandmother’s life with a 911 call. In a fire, every person in the home can be a potential hero if they know what to do if an emergency arises.
If you have any questions about any of these items, please do not hesitate to call us at 440-235-3746; we are here to help you stay safe! We hope you have a Joyful Christmas!
Yours in Safety,
Patrick Kelly, Chief
Olmsted Township Fire Department