By Michael Campbell
Special to GUIDON
As summer turns to fall, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory on fall fire safety tips. Some safety tips are the same regardless of the time of year, but many concerns are seasonal.
Time changes mean battery changes
Get in the habit of changing the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors every fall and spring when changing the clocks. It is also a good idea to make it standard procedure in your household to verify that all fire extinguishers are fully charged.
No matter what type of device you use to heat your home, making sure your heating devices and/or systems are in good working order is an important part of learning some fall fire safety tips.
Central heating system safety tips
— Get your central heating system cleaned, inspected and serviced by a certified heating, venting and air conditioning contractor every year before using it.
— If you have a gas heater, make sure that you have a sufficient quantity of fully functioning carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home.
Space heater safety tips
— Make sure that all space heaters are surrounded by at least 3 feet of empty space.
— Never place clothing or any other objects on a space heater to dry.
— Do not place space heaters near furniture or drapery.
— Turn space heaters off when you leave the house or go to bed.
— Avoid storing combustible items near heaters.
Fireplace safety tips
— Get your chimney inspected each year.
— Hire a chimney sweep every fall.
— Repair any cracks in fireplaces.
— Use fireplace screens to keep sparks and fire debris inside the fireplace.
— Do not use gasoline to start a fire in the fireplace.
— Never leave a fire unattended.
— Make sure that combustible materials are not stored within 3 feet of your fireplace.
— For natural gas fireplaces, get all connections and lines inspected before use each season.
— Remember that outdoor fireplaces can be just as dangerous as indoor units, and observe all safety precautions when using them.
Outdoor fall fire safety tips
— Clear your roof and gutters of unnecessary buildup of debris, such as pine needles and leaves.
— Learn the outdoor burning regulations in your area, and do not engage in illegal burning of leaves and other outdoor debris.
There is nothing more important than the safety of your family. Everyone in your home needs to know how to behave responsibly to reduce the likelihood of experiencing a fire. However, because fires can start at any time without warning, it is also very important that the members of your household know how to react in the event of a fire.
Residents are encouraged to call the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Prevention Section at 573.596.0886 with any questions concerning fire safety, home safety, child safety seat inspections or the Juvenile Fire Setter program.
(Editor’s note: Campbell is a Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department fire inspector.)