No one died in a blaze that brought Medina firefighters to a home Wednesday afternoon, but the tragedy does illustrate why local fire departments want residents to plan for the unexpected.
National Fire Prevention Month takes place in the month of October and this year the yearly observance is focusing on a big push to remind residents to sleep with their bedroom doors closed.
According to Brunswick Fire Chief Jim Baird, the National Fire Protection Agency has created a new campaign called “Close Before You Doze” that encourages people to do just that.
“Studies have shown that 40 years ago when your smoke detectors went off you had 17 minutes to get out of your house,” he said.
“The studies now show that when your smoke detectors go off you have three minutes to get out of your house.”
This is because synthetic materials are replacing natural materials. Baird said that many synthetic materials are made using oil which means they burn hotter and faster and release heat at a greater rate.
“If you close your door … in spite of how hot a fire gets, a closed door, just closing your door, can save your life,” said Baird.
“It can make a 500 to 900 degree difference between an open bedroom and a bedroom with the door closed.”
Here are some other fire safety tips:
With the holiday season coming up, Hinckley Fire Chief Jestin Grossenbaugh said something as simple as a live Christmas tree could result in a fire if it dries out.
“With Christmas trees, make sure you water them if you are using live trees and keep them away from any possible sources of ignition,” he said.
Grossenbaugh, along Baird, also want residents to remember that carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors have a life span and residents should make sure they keep theirs updated.
“If your smoke detectors or CO detectors are more than 7 years old, we recommend that you just replace them entirely,” said Baird.
Grossenbaugh said that smoke detector batteries should be changed twice a year and that families, especially those with children, should practice fire drills and create a designated meeting zone outside the house where the family can gather in the event of an emergency.
Also, he said that families who have bedrooms on the second floor should look into getting an escape ladder in case they are unable to get out on the first floor.