Fire safety important as months get cooler

Published 1:01 pm Friday, October 16, 2015

As seasons change and Oxonians begin turning on their heat to stay warm in the cool weather, the Oxford Fire Department is reminding residents to use proper fire safety during the fall and winter months.

As a part of Fire Safety Month, the EAGLE met with William Stewart, Inspector and Public Educator for the Oxford Fire Department, to go over a few safety tips the L-O-U community should remember this winter.

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Stewart said the majority of fires the department sees during the cooler months are from unattended cooking.

“With the holidays coming up, (cooking fires) increase,” he said. “People need to be mindful and take something with them that they can keep in their hands, like a spoon or something, to remember that they’re in the kitchen. With technology today, it’s very easy to get pulled away and forget what you’re doing.”

Other tips Stewart provided include:

•Get your smoke detector checked. Stewart recommends having a professional heating and air serviceman check your smoke detector to ensure it is working properly. Make sure your smoke detectors are 10 feet away from the heating and air conditioning unit and air return and make sure you have a detector outside of each sleeping quarter. Smoke detectors that are 10 years old should be replaced.

•If you are using a space heater, be sure the unit has a three-foot clearance from anything that is flammable and that the electric cord is not covered by rugs or other pieces of material. Before using, always check the cord for cuts and tears and never use an extension cord with a space heater. Be sure to turn the space heater off when you leave the room and especially when you leave your house.

•Do not use your oven for heating your home.

•Houses that use gas should have a carbon monoxide detector and have a professional come out and check it to ensure it is working properly.

•Have a safe meeting spot so everyone knows where to go if a fire does occur. Stewart recommends a place that is away from the house and is easy to remember, and asks that residents share the safe meeting spot with company as they visit over the holidays.