Marlborough Patch spoke with Deputy Fire Chief Ron Ayotte about the best ways to prevent home fires in the winter months.
1. Maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The average lifespan of a detector is years. Newer constructions have systems hardwired, but prior to 1985 you are likely to have battery operated units.
2. Be very careful with the use of extension cords.
3. Maintain your heating system. This includes fireplaces, wood and pellet stoves. These should be cleaned and inspected for debris, soot, etc.
4. Be careful of your Christmas trees. Make sure to keep it watered and don't overload your outlets with lights.
5. Keep items away from heaters, radiators, vents, etc. Space heaters need at least three feet of clearance space.
6. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Keep several of them, actually. The kitchen and garage are a couple of suggested locations.
7. Unattended cooking is a big problem. Make sure you watch whatever is on the stove at all times, and don't leave anything in the microwave for too long.
8. Every family should have a fire escape plan. Get together with your loved ones and go over a evacuation plan in the event of a fire.
9. Above all, never try and fight a large fire on your own. Once you and your family are out of the house, stay out. Besides being very dangerous, by not calling 911 immediately you are likely to make the end result worse. The Marlborough Fire Department has the training, equipment and clothing needed to fight a serious home fire.
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