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Smithfield, RI Weather

The Chief’s Corner

By Robert W. Seltzer, BSEE, EFO, MPA Chief Smithfield Fire Dept.

This time of year is more prone to residential fires than any other time of year. With the holiday season soon upon us, fire departments in New England see an increase in residential fire activity.

A few simple tips that keep your Thanksgiving Day safe and sound.

Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
Keep knives out of the reach of children.
Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

A few simple tips that keep your Christmas Holiday safe and sound.

Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Please be safe and follow the above recommended safety tips. The next fire could be in YOUR home!

For more information you may go to www.usfa.fema.gov. or contact the Smithfield Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau at 949-0832.