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In the wake of several city fires, safety is crucial for prevention

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Photo courtesy of Kayla Jusseaume

Several fires, a few of them severe, have taken place lately in the city. Most of them, however, were preventable.

Last week there were at least four preventable fires in the city.

1. Improperly installed wood stove with no permits pulled.
2. Cooking while falling asleep.
3. Illegal unventilated kerosene heater filled with the wrong fuel.
4. Dropped cigarette smoking in bed.

Safety is the key to prevention. Here are some tips from the Red Cross:

Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food.

Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops.

Keep the stove area clean and clear of things that can catch fire, such as pot holders, towels, curtains, bags, and other appliances.

If you are cooking and a fire starts in a pan, slide a lid over the burning pan and turn off the burner. Leave the lid in place until the pan is completely cool. Moving the pan can cause serious injury or spread the fire. Never pour water on grease fires.

Purchase only appliances and electrical devices (including space heaters) that bear the label of an independent testing laboratory.

Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.

If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

Avoid overloading outlets or extension cords.

When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over as another safety measure.

Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.

If you don’t already have one, buy a fire extinguisher to keep within easy reach should something ignite while you’re cooking.

Remember, don’t toss water on a grease fire if you’re caught without an extinguisher. If a fire starts in a pan — and many do — put a lid on it to suffocate the flames.

Properly dispose of cigarettes and other smoking products.

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