NEWBERRY — This week during Fire Prevention Week, children and parents are being educated on how to prevent fires with a special emphasis on kitchen fire safety, this year’s theme.
Newberry Fire Chief Keith Minick said firemen are going into Newberry Elementary, Gallman and Newberry Academy to educate students who can take that knowledge home to the adults in their house.
Fire safety education is a statewide initiative. Gov. Nikki Haley declared this week Fire Prevention Week and the proclamation recognizes the state departments of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the Division of Fire and Life Safety and the state’s fire service for their commitment to preventing fires and responding.
One common fire hazard is using an oven as a heating source for the house, Minick said, adding that doing so is just asking for a tragedy to happen.
“The kitchen is not an area for kids to play in,” he said.
Minick said there should be a three foot clearance area around the stove. Homeowners should also check the smoke alarms and their batteries to make sure they are working properly.
Batteries should be checked at least monthly, Minick said, and smoke alarms should be checked at least twice a year. The easiest way to remember is to do it when the time changes.
Minick said the fire department still has some maintenance free alarms for those who are over age 60d, are handicapped or disabled or have children under age 10. The city also works with the county departments to find residents who are eligible for free alarms.
Minick said when they come to install an alarm, they also do a free fire inspection.
Minick also said families should have fire drills so the occupants know what do and how to get out in case of a fire.
“You should have two ways out in case of a fire and make sure windows are accessible to get out,” said Minick.
Fire extinguishers are also an option but residents should know how to use them before an emergency.
“In a time of a fire, it’s not a time to read instructions,” Minick said. “The fire extinguisher could be their means of getting out.”
In 2012, fires claimed the lives of 72 people in South Carolina, with 97 percent of these deaths occurring in homes, according to the Governor’s Office.
More information on fire prevention can be found at The National Fire Prevention Association’s website at www.nfpa.org/safety-information/fire-prevention-week.