With recent fires taking place in both Geary and Watonga, knowing how to stay safe and prevent fires could benefit many residents.
Here are five things you need to know to stay safe from fires.
1. Smoke Detectors
“Check your smoke detectors and make sure they work,” Watonga Fire Chief Robert Daugherty said.
Having a smoke detector in the first place is important to make sure you are aware of a potential fire. However, making sure that it is regularly working is just as important.
Testing the fire alarm regularly can be a helpful habit to get into. Examine your smoke detetor and look for a button labeled “test” or something along those lines.
Once pressed the alarm should ring. If it does not ring, change out the batteries. The Red Cross suggests you test your smoke alarms at least once a month.
2. Fire extinguisher
Daugherty recommends keeping one or two in the house. Having it in the kitchen or laundry room area can be a useful place to have it.
“People forget that a pot, pan, or skillet is left on the stove. We’ve seen that cause fires,” Daugherty said.
The National Fire Protection Association offers a guide on its website for anyone to inspect their fire extinguishers.
When you inspect your fire alarm, place it in its designated spot, make sure you have easy access to it, and ensure that it’s full and ready to go.
3. Outside of homes and buildings
The area surrounding your home could pose a hazard if not kept properly. Things such as dry grass and leaves can lead to potential fires.
“Especially this time of year, keep any vegetation mowed and keep leaves away from buildings or structures as well,” Daugherty said.
Making sure to properly extinguish any hot or previously on fire objects is also crucial. Daugherty explains that a recent fire in Watonga was started because hot embers weren’t entirely put out.
“There was some work being done on the building,” Daugherty said. “They gathered everything up and put it in a bucket and thought they had everything put out, but the wind picked up that night.”
4. Space heaters
With cold weather continuing for a few more weeks and the below-freezing temperatures we’ve experienced over the past few days, residents may be eager to use space heaters to warm up.
Keep in mind that if not set up properly, these space heaters could lead to potential fires.
“Don’t plug them into extension cords,” Watonga firefighter Quentin Shelton said. “Make sure to keep them at least three feet away from anything flammable and make sure not to cover them up.”
Keeping them on the floor, away from water, and under supervision are also things that Geary Fire Chief Jeff Choate said to keep in mind.
5. Have a plan
The Red Cross has said that having a plan in case a fire were to happen is a top tip when it comes to fire safety. Making sure all members of a household are aware of this plan is important.
The Red Cross suggests that you have two ways that you can escape out of each room in your household.
As you make your way out of the building, remember to keep low in order to stay away from the smoke. Once outside, you should have a designated place to meet.
“Get out and stay out. Never go back inside for people, pets or things,” is stated on the Red Cross’s website.
You can visit the Red Cross’s website for a printable template that allows you to layout a visual plan of escape in the event of a fire.