Lincoln Fire Chief Miller talks about home fire safety
October 18, 2012, By Mike Fak, In the last few weeks, three area homes have been lost to fires. But the fire department receives many more calls concerning fires that don’t lead to a disaster. Lincoln Fire Chief Miller sat down for a few minutes to give important information on preventing fires in our homes and businesses. Although there can be many reasons for a fire, the chief wanted to stress these points about fire safety.
A common cause of fires is the improper use of portable heaters or using old ones that do not have the latest built-in safety features.
The chief also mentioned extension cords as being a cause for fires. He said if using an extension cord on a heater that it is important to have a heavy duty cord that can stand the constant use and wattage of the heater. He said to also check cords for frays and to not have the cords in traffic areas or through doorways where they can become damaged or pinched. Miller said that it is better, and safer, to have an electrician install an outlet near the heater rather than use a cord that could cause an electrical fire.
Miller said other fire calls starting this time of year are a result of indoor, careless smoking habits including smoking in bed or throwing cigarette butts into trash cans.
The chief also said that now that furnaces are being started up for the winter that checking them out is essential for safety. Make sure that the flue has not been blocked by animals over the summer. He also recommended changing filters and to have a burner inspection to make sure the furnace is working properly.
Miller said water heaters need to be checked as well, including their flue, and to make sure there are no storage items near either the water heaters or furnaces.
It is now the season for outdoor burning of leaves (where allowed by law) and the chief said it is never a good idea to burn on a windy day. He also cautioned against parking a vehicle over leaves at the curb as a catalytic converter can carry a temperature of up to 1,000 degrees.
Miller also stressed the high importance of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the home or business and recommends fresh batteries every fall to ensure they work correctly. He also recommended that if the alarms are more than 5 years old, they be replaced with new ones.
The chief said anyone having questions about the leaf burn ordinance can call the department at 217-735-4020. And, in the event someone cannot afford batteries or detectors for their home, he also said they should call the department for assistance in getting these important home alarms.