Cumberland Times-News

March 23, 2013

Spring fire safety tips offered by Maryland state fire marshal

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

— PIKESVILLE — Spring cleaning is an annual ritual for many people. Just as the first crocus of spring ushers in a new beginning for nature, our spring cleaning habits signify a fresh start for us after the long winter months.

State Fire Marshal William Barnard suggests that spring cleaning can take on another meaning.

“It's the ideal time to check our homes and yards for dangerous materials and unsafe conditions and to spend the time to protect our families and our properties,” he said.

Residents are ured to take a few minutes to plan a safety cleanup day and should plan on checking each room in the home, including the attic, basement, garage, yard and storage shed.

Plan to do several different things:

Remove all hazards

Check and correct things such as:

• Frayed or damaged appliance cords, wiring, fuses or breakers.

• Piles of rubbish, trash and yard debris.

• Remove stacks of paper and magazines; take them to recycling centers.

• Check for water leaks, especially near electrical appliances.

• Check for adequate clearance between heating appliances and combustibles.                                              

Flammable liquids          and chemicals

• Make sure that gasoline and cleaning fluids are well marked and are out of the reach of children and pets. Store in a cool, dry place outside the house.

• Clean up work areas. Put dangerous tools, adhesives, matches or other work items away and out of any child’s reach.

• Make sure that all chemicals are kept under lock and key and out of reach of children and pets.

Safety equipment

• Test smoke alarms.

• Make sure all doors and windows open easily and are accessible for fast escapes.

• Make sure your street numbers are posted properly and are visible.

• Make sure there is a working flashlight and battery-powered radio for the approaching storm season.

Plan your escape

• Sit down with family membersand make sure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire by designing a home escape plan.

• Make sure there are two ways out of every room and that a meeting place outside the home is established for the whole family.

• Practice the plan.