Remember fire safety

Now that cold weather is settling in, people should take the time to think about fire safety.

Home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. The U.S. Fire Administration says this is due, in part, to an increase in cooking and heating fires.

This newspaper published a story about a cooking fire this week. On Tuesday, a grease fire severely damaged a Meco home, which was occupied by eight people, according to fire officials. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Local residents should be ready for the chilly season and do everything they can to prevent fires in the home.

Here are some fire-safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration:

  • If you are cooking and a fire starts, turn off the stove or burner and put a lid on the pan to stop it. Never throw water on a grease fire.
  • Keep fire in the fireplace. Use fire screens and have your chimney cleaned annually. The creosote buildup can ignite a chimney fire that could easily spread.
  • Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas.
  • Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced.
  • Portable heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least 3 feet away.
  • Around the holidays, do not place a Christmas tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree and it could catch fire.
  • Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm.

People also should have an escape route planned in case of the worst.