FREE Smoke Detector are Available if you Cannot Afford One
Northeast Fire Collaborative (NEFC) fire officials have again dubbed space heaters the “No.1 Winter Killer,” saying they are the leading cause of fires during the winter months. “Sparks from space heaters set off the majority of fires nationally each year, from December to March,” said Chief Ralph Hammonds of Sharonville.
“They are, without a doubt, the main cause of serious home fires during the winter months,” Hammonds said. “The use of heaters with broken or frayed electric cords is an invitation to disaster, yet people go on using these appliances despite their condition.”
If it is necessary for residents to heat their homes with these appliances, they should buy new heaters with improved safety features. “Never, ever, connect a heater to an extension cord,” Hammonds said.
The Collaborative reminds that renters have the right to demand that their landlords install smoke detectors in apartments. “Landlords are required by law to provide and install smoke detectors,” Hammonds said. “After that, it’s up to the residents to check batteries in the smoke detectors – and to replace them when needed.”
NEFC fire officials said homeowners should install a smoke alarm on each floor of a home. Test and clean the alarms each month – and check batteries to determine that they are working.
NEFC fire officials are offering the following tips for residents who use electric heaters:
- Never connect space heaters to extension cords because the heater can overload electrical circuits, sparking a fire.
- Do not use space heaters for long periods of time. Space heaters are designed to provide temporary warmth, fire officials said. When not in use, the heaters should be unplugged.
- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from furniture, cleaning products and any other combustible materials.
- Keep space heaters away from water. Never use the heaters in bathrooms or other rooms where they might come in contact with water, the officials said.
- Always open a window slightly when using space heaters, to improve ventilation.
- Check heater cords to determine if they are frayed or damaged. Heaters with defective cords should never be used.
- Never use space heaters to dry clothing. Clothing can ignite and spark a blaze.
What should you do if your smoke detector goes off, if you notice smoke or a fire at home, or in a home or apartment in your neighborhood? NEFC officials urge you to stay calm, follow these suggestions – and never try to fight a fire on your own.
- If your clothes catch on fire, stop in your tracks, drop to the floor, and roll over and over to smother the flames.
- If a fire breaks out in your home, or in a non-fireproof apartment building, GET OUT as quickly as you can and call 9-1-1.
- If you live in an apartment dwelling and the fire is not in your apartment, STAY in your apartment. Do not run into smoke-filled halls or stairwells but immediately call 9-1-1.
- Call 911 from your apartment, if you can.
- If you must leave, feel doors with the back of your hand before you try to open them. If they are hot, find another way out. Keep as close to the floor as you can. Smoke and heat rise, and the air is clearer and cooler near the floor.
- ALWAYS CLOSE DOORS BEHIND YOU!
- If you are unable to get out, stay near a window and near the floor. Close the door and stuff a towel in the bottom of the door to prevent smoke from entering the room. Signal for help if you can – wave a cloth or sheet out the window, and yell for help. MAKE SOMEONE ON THE STREET KNOW YOU ARE THERE! Call 9-1-1 even if you cannot speak.
- When leaving a burning home or apartment, do not stop to take any material possessions with you.
- Always try to take your pet(s) with you, if you must leave a burning building.
- Never use the elevator.
Hammonds suggest that you keep a home fire extinguisher, and learn how to use it and now is the time to test your smoke detectors.
A note for renters: contact your insurance carrier to discuss available Renters Insurance plans, which will provide coverage for losses caused by fire.
Residents who cannot afford to buy a smoke alarm are urged to contact the Northeast Fire Collaborative or stop by any of the firehouses in Blue Ash, Mason, Sharonville, Sycamore or Loveland-Symmes to receive a free smoke detector.
The fire departments of Blue Ash, Mason, Sharonville, Sycamore Township and Loveland-Symmes, are the Northeast Fire Collaborative-a cooperative mutual effort, “Focused on providing the best in fire, rescue and emergency services to the citizens of our communities,” said Hammonds. “Through this multi-community cooperative and combined effort, focused on safety and public service, we mutually deliver high quality levels of emergency service, equipment and value as stewards of your tax dollars.”