Local & Regional
3:10 pm
Fri October 9, 2009

Uptick in House Fires

Tulsa, OK – Red Cross volunteers are at the scene of a fire at 1626 S. Columbia Place. One adult is affected, and the volunteers will be offering to assist with necessities that may have been destroyed, such as food and clothing.

Additionally, the Red Cross would like to warn families to be on guard this weekend about home fires. Because this is our first cold snap, families probably will be turning on their heaters and lighting fireplaces for the first time. This traditionally causes a spike in fires, our country's No. 1 disaster.

Following are some tips to prevent home fires and to prepare our families in the event of a fire.

How to prepare:
Family plans should include two ways to escape from every room in the home.
Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Let your children hear the fire alarm and make sure they can find their way out of the house, even in the dark.
Select a safe location away from the home where your family can meet after escaping so that you'll know if everyone is accounted for.
Replace batteries in your smoke alarms.
Consider purchasing and storing escape ladders for rooms or apartments above ground level and practice using them.
If you see smoke or fire in your first escape route, use your second way out.
If you must exit through smoke, crawl low under the smoke.
Before escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If it is warm, use your second escape route.
If smoke, heat or flames block both of your exit routes, stay in the room with the door closed. Place a rolled towel underneath the door. Signal for help by waving a brightly colored cloth or shining a flashlight at the window. If there is a telephone in the room, call the fire department and let them know your exact location inside the home.
Once you've escaped your home, stay out.

How to prevent:
Have your heater serviced before using it.
Use a screen in front of a fireplace so that embers can't roll onto the floor.
Be careful of heaters, especially space heaters. Keep them away from wallpaper or other combustibles. Never hang wet gloves on a heater to dry.
Additionally, this is a good time of year to check or install a carbon monoxide detector to prevent poisoning.