Tragedy reminds us of need for winter fire safety

Published: 1/11/2017 11:00 AM
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It seems a woefully late reminder, but fire safety is front of mind for the community one day after tragedy struck in Zerbe Township.

A woman died in an overnight house fire near Trevorton, the second fatality in less than three months locally, and the third fire in as many days.

The cold snap and its resulting burden on heating systems may have something to do with this week’s spate of fires. It’s a common phenomenon in the heart of the winter season.

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that:

• 905 people die in winter home fires each year.

• $2,091,000,000 in property loss occurs from winter home fires.

• 67 percent of winter fires occur in one- and two-family homes.

• Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires.

• 5 to 8 p.m. is the most common time for winter home fires.

We pray for those impacted by this week’s fires and recognize the efforts of emergency responders as we offer this expert advice from the National Fire Protection Association:

• Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from any heat source, like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or space heaters.

• Plug only one heat-producing appliance into an electrical outlet at a time.

• Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year.

• Stored cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and kept outside at least 10 feet from your home and any other nearby buildings.

• Check batteries in smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors.

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