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A reminder of caution during Fire Prevention Week
W Fire story file photo
Firefighters battle a blaze on East Grady Street in this January 2009 file photo. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/Herald File
    Fire Prevention Week begins today in Georgia and Georgia's Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine reminds citizens  to play it safe.  The theme for the week this year is, “Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned!”
    Oxendine's office is working with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to promote fire safety and awareness.
    Bulloch County Fire Chief Randy Walker supports that effort, reminding people to make sure they have a working smoke alarm in their home.
    "The only way to know it’s working is to test it," he said. And if the alarm is operated by battery, Walker suggested replacing batteries twice a year - when times change in spring and fall.
    This year, Oxendine and fire personnel around the state will be spreading the word about ways to keep homes fire safe and prevent painful burns. Additionally, fire safety educators will be teaching local residents how to plan and practice escape from a home in case a fire occurs.
    Walker said having family " exit drills"  is a good idea. Practicing fire safety escape routes at hoe, just like fire drills at school, can help family members, especially children, escape safely in case of fire.
    Having a plan, where family members exit the home and meet at a designated place outside, can help when firefighters respond to the scene. If all family members are accounted for, firefighters can then work on extinguishing the flames, he said.
    Oxendine said the statistics regarding fire-related injuries are staggering. Each year roughly 100 people die as a result of home fires and burns in Georgia, and more than 200,000 individuals are seen in the nation’s emergency rooms for burn injuries, he said.
    “The most common types of burn injuries result from fire or flame burns, scalds and contact burns,” he said. “Burns are painful and can result in serious scarring and even death."
    Walker reminds citizens to be careful with space heaters, electric or kerosene. While some may have safety features regarding tipping, that does not account for the heater being too close to flammables such as beds or clothing.
    There are other dangers, Oxendine said. " When we take extra caution in our homes to ensure that the curling iron is out of children’s reach or pot handles are turned away from the edge of the stove, such injuries are entirely preventable. Keeping our homes safe from fire and preventing devastating burn injuries is a healthy change we can make happen.”
    He offered further tips:

      Keep hot foods and liquids away from tables and counter edges so they cannot be pulled or knocked over.
    Have a 3-foot “kid-free” zone around the stove.
     Never hold a child in your arms while preparing hot food or drinking a hot beverage.
     Be careful when using things that get hot such as curling irons, oven, irons, lamps, heaters.
     Install tamper-resistant receptacles to prevent a child from sticking an object in the outlet.
     Never leave a child alone in a room with a lit candle, portable heater, lit fireplace or stove, or where a hot appliance might be in use.
       Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking.
      Set your hot water temperature no higher than 120 degrees.
      Install anti-scald valves on shower heads and faucets.
         For more information on planned activities, please contact the Statesboro Fire Department at 764-FIRE ( 3473) or the Bulloch County Fire Department (Walker) at 489-1661, or Oxendine's Fire Safety Education Division at 404-657-0831.         

   
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