by Caitlin Huston
As firefighters kick off National Fire Prevention Month, they’re urging residents to take preventative measures in their homes to reduce the risk of fire.
While the number of fires have been down recently, local fire departments say that residents should continue to prevent the possibility of a fire by checking their smoke detectors and avoid overloading electrical outlets. The Logansport Fire Department, New Waverly Fire Department and the Walton Volunteer Fire Department will be out in their communities this month offering education and safety tips.
Firefighters from the departments agreed that the majority of fires in the area are caused by an overloading of electrical outlets or the use of flammable materials, like candles and lighters.
Steve Crispen, a district lieutenant at the Cass County Fire District, said the biggest step in preventing those fires is to have a working smoke detector with battery.
“That early warning will help,” Crispen said.
Crispen said even if homeowners have smoke detectors, they should do regular checks to make sure the batteries are working.
Logansport Fire Chief Mark Strong said homeowners need to make sure their heat sources have updated wiring and that candles are kept in a safe place and not left burning for longer than two hours.
He said clutter around stoves and heaters is a great fire risk.
Cleaning up materials around heat sources can play a huge role in reducing fires, he said.
“Keeping the house neat and clean helps out a lot,” Strong said.
While children practice fire drills at school, Crispen said families also need to have plans in the event of a fire at home, including where to meet outside the home and multiple exits to take.
“Everyone needs to be aware and practice those at homes,” Crispen said.
The fire departments will be visiting local schools and offering tours of their departments this month.
Rusty Logan, first assistant chief of the Walton Volunteer Fire Department, said his department suits up in full uniform to try to show children that they should not run from firefighters during a fire, but instead run to them.
Though all the departments saw some fires this past summer caused by electrical overloads, Crispen said overall, there have been a low number of fires in the past few years.
“It has been amazingly quiet,” Crispen said. “There fires have really dipped down.”
Logansport also said its numbers have been down, due in part to residents practicing fire safety.
“We have been low for the past couple of years,” Logan said. “I think people must be doing a pretty good job.”