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Love Is In The Air

(Appeared in February 2017 issue of The Dispatcher)

marty-king

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner (February 14th, for those who are forgetful), our attention turns to love, but let’s not forget about fire safety. What romantic evening does not include a dinner by candlelight?

Recent data from the NFPA shows that candles caused three percent of reported home fires and accounted for three percent of home fire deaths, six percent of home fire injuries, and five percent of direct property damage in home fires. Roughly one-third of home candle fires start in bedrooms. These fires caused 32 percent of the associated deaths and 47 percent of the associated home fires. That’s why it’s important to stress home fire safety within your community.

Community members looking to set the mood on Valentine’s Day should be encouraged to use flameless candles instead of traditional candles. Many of these candles look and smell like real candles. If using traditional candles, they should follow these safety guidelines:

  • Never leave candles unattended. Extinguish the candles when leaving the room.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
  • Put candles on a sturdy, noncombustible surface.
  • Don’t burn candles all the way down. Jar candles warn that they should be disposed of at a certain point or when the wax liquefies.

Enjoying a fire in a fireplace is another popular date night romance. The fire safety guidelines are similar. Never leave the fireplace fire unattended. If they are going to bed, they should put out the fire in the fireplace Keep the screen in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks from causing damage to nearby objects and keep the fire small to prevent a chimney fire. Always use dry wood and do not use paper with ink that may cause creosote to build up inside the chimney. The chimney should be regularly cleaned.

When preparing dinner, combustibles should be kept away from the stove or grill to prevent a fire that will ruin a romantic evening. Never leave items unattended on the stovetop (much like when using candles and fireplaces). After the dinner is prepared, turn off the stove or grill. Keeping stoves and grills clean will help prevent fires.

The dangers of fire are often overlooked because fire is prevalently used in our everyday lives. We need to encourage and practice daily fire safety. The ounce of prevention will be worth the pound of cure.

For this Valentine’s Day, flameless candles and chocolate will provide the desired romance and prevent members in your community from watching their homes go up in flames as they stand on the sidewalk and the fire department responds.

For information on how fire sprinklers save lives and property, please email me or visit National Fire Sprinkler Association – Wisconsin Chapter, National Fire Sprinkler Association, and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

-Marty King, State Coordinator, NFSA-WI

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