It’s the season for fire safety

Each year, many lives are lost due to house fires that could have easily been prevented, tragically disrupting lives and leaving families to mourn the loss of loved ones.

As we enjoy this holiday season, recent tragedies across the region can serve as reminder for everyone to pause and think about fire safety and awareness.

Oak Harbor Fire Chief Ray Merrill said firefighters respond to more fires at the holiday than any other time of year. Most could have been prevented with a little more common sense.

Merrill said some of the seasonal causes of fire are unattended cooking and burning candles, which are some of the most common causes of house fires.

It can’t be stressed enough, he said, to check and or replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. People are supposed to replace detectors every ten years.

“Your life is worth more than the cost of a two dollar battery,” Merrill said.

He added it is very common to see that some people don’t even have any batteries in the smoke detectors at all.

The following are a few other tips from the American Red Cross.

Do not overload extension or power cords by “daisy chaining” them together. Do not store boxes or other combustable material on top of electrical cords. Give your space heater some space and do not put it too close to furniture or drapes.

It’s always a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher handy especially in the kitchen area but don’t waste time trying to put the fire out if it gets out of control. Evacuate the house and call 911. Never go back inside the house for any reason.

Talk to your loved ones about having an escape plan to leave the house if needed. For multiple story residences, it is a good idea to have an escape ladder in each room. Practice your fire evacuation plan once or twice a year.

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