Fire prevention: Be prepared and stay safe

With the cooler temperatures moving in over the weekend came a warning all homeowners and residents should heed regarding fire safety.

On Sunday and Monday alone, area companies were quite busy, with the largest fire taking place at a church in the village of Brocton. That was devastating to a community and congregation.

And while we salute those who serve their local departments, residents must be certain they are ready for the chilly season and do everything they can to prevent fires in the home. Some of those tips, from the U.S. Fire Administration, include:

Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm.

Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced.

When using appliances follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to be shut off, then replaced or repaired. Unplug appliances when not in use.

Portable heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least 3 feet away.

Keep fire in the fireplace. Use fire screens and have your chimney cleaned annually. The creosote buildup can ignite a chimney fire that could easily spread.

In addition to these tips, also have an escape route planned for the family in case of the worst. Sunday was a tough day on firefighters. It is even tougher on those whose homes have been lost.