Local Officials Recommend Reviewing Fire Safety as Fall Approaches

JEFFERSON CO., Pa. (EYT) – With summer drawing to an end and fall approaching it will soon be time to kick on your heat, which makes now a good time to think about fire safety.

US Fire Administration statistics show that heating is the second leading cause of home fires after cooking. From 2013-2015, an average of 45,900 home heating fires occurred in the United States each year. These fires caused an annual average of approximately 205 deaths, 725 injuries and $506 million in property loss.

According to Assistant Chief Justin Miller of the Sigel Volunteer Fire Department, it is never a bad time to check your smoke detectors.

“They don’t last forever, so it’s important to replace them every five to ten years,” Miller told ExploreJeffersonPA.com.

While it is most commonly recommended that people change the batteries in their smoke detectors twice each year, at the same time as they change their clocks in the spring and fall, it is still recommended that people check them regularly to prevent possible malfunctions.

Although many newer models of smoke alarms have long-lasting batteries that do not need to be replaced, thousands of people still use models that depend on standard batteries that need to be replaced on a regular basis.

According to Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego, worn or missing batteries are the most common cause of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector malfunction. If they are functioning properly, smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Changing the batteries at least once a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to prevent tragic deaths and injuries.

Miller also noted it is also recommended that people have their heating systems checked regularly.

“We highly recommend getting all of your heating methods serviced prior to use,” Miller said. “Servicing prior to use before colder weather ensures that it will be ready when you need it, and could also prevent a fire.”

With Fire Prevention Week, which is held each year in October, coming up soon, now is also a good time to speak to children about fire safety.

“It’s important to know two ways out of your house, have a meeting place when you do make it out, and don’t go back in once you’re out,” Miller said. “Children should also know stop, drop, and roll. It’s also important for children to know their address.”

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