EL CENTRO, Calif. - The National Fire Protection Association reported recently that 7 people die nationwide each day in reported house fires.
El Centro Fire Engineer Jason Bandaruk said, “We do have a lot, I think, of fires here in Imperial County, in El Centro. It’s something that we’re trying to help prevent with fire prevention.”
On Saturday, at El Centro Fire Station #3, firefighters wanted to bring that number down at their annual open house. The event was full of activities for kids.
“We’re teaching them about not only what we do, but how you can be fire-safe at home. We also have live-fire props where you can come and use a fire extinguisher and learn how to use one,” Bandaruk said.
A main focus was to promote exit drills.
“Talk to your family, tell them what to do, where to get out – always have two ways out, whether it be a bedroom door, a bedroom window. First thing is get out safe. That’s why we’re promoting exit drills; get out, have a meeting place and make sure everybody in your family is there,” Bandaruk said.
Smoke detectors are key factors in fire safety.
“The majority of people do get out and one key factor in that is working smoke detectors and smoke alarms. Having that smoke detector saves lives,” Bandaruk said.
Here are the top ten fire safety tips from NFPA:
1. Watch your cooking.
Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove. If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer.
2. Give space heaters some space.
Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn. Turn off heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.
3. Smoke outside.
Ask smokers to smoke outside. Have sturdy, deep ashtrays for smokers.
4. Keep lighters and matches out of reach.
Keep matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of children, preferably in a cabinet with a child lock.
5. Inspect electrical cords.
Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs, or loose connections.
6. Be careful when using candles.
Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn. Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
7. Have a home fire escape plan.
Make a home fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
8. Install smoke alarms.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Interconnect smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound. For the best protection, both ionization and photoelectric alarms or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms (also known as dual sensor alarms) are recommended.
9. Test smoke alarms.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month and replace conventional batteries once a year or when the alarm “chirps” to tell you the battery is low. Replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old.
10. Install sprinklers.
If you are building or remodeling your home, install residential fire sprinklers. Sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive.