WPFD offers holiday fire safety advice

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

With the holidays and cold weather quickly approaching, the West Point Fire Department is offering important safety tips.

According to the National Fire Safety Council, faulty heating equipment is responsible for over 40 percent of winter home fires and is the second leading cause of year-round fires.

WPPD Chief Ken Wilbourne said the most important cold weather safety tip is to ensure all heaters are working properly and cleaned if needed.

Wilbourne said wood burning fireplaces needed to be professionally inspected and cleaned, and never use gas or lighter fluid inside a fireplace.

Wilbourne said portable propane heaters should never be used inside a house, and always ensure there is no furniture or curtains near space heaters and unplug them when they are not in use.

According to the National Fire Safety Council, approximately 3,000 fires, 102 deaths and 294 injuries are caused by space heaters.

According to Wilbourne, ovens should never be used as a heat source.

“We are in holiday season with holiday parties and cooking going on now until January,” he said. “Never use charcoal or gas grills indoors, and use proper procedures when using a turkey fryer. Use them outdoors and away from any structures.”

Wilbourne said to avoid crowds in kitchens, pay attention and don’t get distracted.

“Ninety percent of kitchen fires are caused by distraction,” he said. “Kitchen fires have been our number one type of fire over the last few years.”

Wilbourne said when cooking with oil or grease, make sure to have a cover close by to smother a fire if needed.

“Always make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and test them regularly any time of year,” he said.

Wilbourne said if you ever smell gas, get everyone out of the building, call 911 and do not go back inside.