With below zero temperatures and even lower windchills throughout much of Nebraska and Iowa, it is important that families andindividuals remain vigilant in practicing home fire safety.
Heat sources that people often turn to in the winter months suchas space heaters, fireplaces or wood and coal stoves can pose a fire hazard.
To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Crossrecommends keeping anything that can burn such as paper, bedding or furniture,at least three feet away from heating equipment and fireplaces and to neverleave these unattended.
"Lastmonth, the Nebraska/SW Iowa Region responded to more than 60 home fires acrossNebraska and in portions of Iowa," said Tina Labellarte, Region CEO. "But thegood news is that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of a homefire."
Home fire safety tips from the Red Cross:
- Keepitems that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that getshot, such as space heaters.
- Neversmoke in bed.
- Talkto your children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters andkeep them out of reach.
- Turnportable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Themost effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identifyand remove fire hazards.
About65 percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms.During a home fire, working smoke alarms can save lives.
Smoke Alarm Safety Tips:
- Installsmoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleepingareas.
- Teachyour children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
- Oncea month check whether each alarm in the home is working properly by pushing thetest button.
- Replacebatteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a newbattery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.
- Smokealarms should be replaced every 10 years. Never disable smoke or carbonmonoxide alarms.
- Carbonmonoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the differencebetween the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.