By Sam Poe
Saturday, June 8, 2013 | 4:05 AM
Winston County has recently dealt with a streak of deadly fires. Five lives have been lost in Winston County in the month of May due to fires. One fire occurred in Double Springs at the beginning of the month when one life was lost. Next, a fire in Arley claimed another life, followed by a fire Monday that destroyed a mobile home and killed three just outside Haleyville. Although fires are typically more common in the fall and winter due to fireplaces and heaters, they can occur at any time with no warning.
Tommy Lewis, Fire Prevention Officer for the Haleyville Fire Department, stated there are several things you can do to help keep your family safe from fire. Here are a few tips to use inside your home. First, do not return into a fire to retrieve items. This puts your life at risk, and no tangible items are worth losing your life. Another very important strategy is to always have two escape routes planned. One is never enough because it can become easily blocked, preventing your escape during an emergency. Remember to keep windows clear of obstacles such as dressers, mirrors, and other furniture in case you are forced to flee your home through the window. It is also essential to change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least twice per year. Many find it easiest to change the batteries when time changes in the fall and spring so they are able to get on a schedule and are less likely to forget. In addition, it is also good practice to randomly check your smoke detector throughout the year to ensure it is working properly.
Next, remember to only use the approved amount of electrical current on electrical outlets. If you overload an outlet, it is possible for fire to start. Using an extension cord inside the home is also highly discouraged. It is much safer to use a power strip that is approved for indoor use. Candles are also fire hazards and should only be used when supervised. It is also important to ensure there are no flammable liquids near the candle, as those can catch fire easily.
Then, using proper kitchen safety can also drastically reduce your risk for fire. While cooking, ensure that children are not in the kitchen or are properly supervised around the stove and other appliances. It is also a good idea to turn all pot handles to the inside of the stove. This reduces the risk of accidentally knocking items off the stovetop.
Finally, it is also important to practice fire safety outside the home. Many people choose to burn leaves and other items, but this is dangerous when it is windy. Winds can easily spread a fire and cause it to burn out of control and even put surrounding structures, such as homes, at risk. Remember to check local weather for wind advisories and/or red flag warnings before setting any outdoor fires.