October is Fire Safety Month, and to help Georgians prepare for fires, Ready Georgia interviewed Thomas Bartlett, Deputy Fire Chief for Fayette County. Household fires kill more than 4,000 people every year, and many of those deaths are preventable. Chief Bartlett provides some important information on the most common causes of fires and best practices for preventing them.
What is the most important thing to know about fire safety?
Learn it young and look for ways to refresh your knowledge. Complacent adults adapt to the “it won’t happen to me” mentality. As with anything else, fire safety changes with technology. Seek out new information and ways to make your home environment safer.
What should you remember if you need to get out of a burning building quickly?
Prior to the fire, you should have an escape plan, an established meeting place and have practiced the plan. Once a fire is discovered or a smoke detector is activated, use the plan, crawl low under smoke, get out and stay out, and report to your designated meeting place.
What is one of the most misunderstood things about fire safety?
That if a fire occurs in a building with sprinklers, they all go off. In fact, only the head or heads that are in the fire area go off. Sprinkler heads are activated by heat. Once the head opens it will discharge until the system is shut down. Homeowners building new homes or completing major renovation have the opportunity to place residential sprinklers into the home. Residential and commercial sprinklers are like having a firefighter on duty at your location 24/7. For the cost, a residential system is great peace of mind and an insurance discount.
What are some of the most common ways fires start?
Cooking left unattended, heating sources to close to combustible material and candles are the most common fire starters in our area.
What are some things you can do to make your home safer from fires?
Don’t leave open flames (like candles) or items cooking on the stove unattended even for just a few seconds. Be aware of your surroundings when using heating sources and the proximity of the source to a combustible. Have your fireplace and chimney checked annually prior to cold weather. Check smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries semi-annually with the time change.
If something does not look right or smell right, most likely it’s not. Call the local fire department to come out and assist you in evaluating your problem. The fire department would rather come out and check the situation than to come out later for a significant fire.
For more information about household fire safety, visit Ready Georgia’s website.
Image Credit: House Fire by Flickr user Ada Be