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Officials give reminder about fire safety

Every year, thousands of families are left homeless due to fire. The fall weather is slowly turning colder, and people are beginning to bring out heaters and firewood. Throughout the rest of the winter months, it will be important to remember just how dangerous a fireplace or even a simple space heater can be.

Lt. David Driver of Clanton Fire Department said following a few simple rules can keep your family and home safe from catching ablaze.

“There are always situations where you can’t prevent a fire, but when you can take steps to prevent the loss of your home, it’s best to take them,” Driver said.

One of the most important fire prevention tips to remember is to clean out your chimney before lighting a fire. Although this may not seem necessary, more houses burn down because of chimney fires. The most common reason is buildup from previous fires that has settled on the chimney’s walls can act like kindling, which initiates fires and can burn quickly, causing a hot fire that homeowners cannot see burning until it is too late.

Chimneys are not the only place where bad fires can occur. Any room can be suspect to catching on fire when you are using a space heater. Although space heaters do not emit true flames, other sources can cause a fire such as debris in the room that can fall in front of or on top of the heater.

“All heaters are dangerous and should be kept at least 3 to 5 feet away from everything in the room. Each heater has its own instructions that the manufacturer has set as a standard for that machine, and it is very important to follow those instructions carefully,” Driver said.

By keeping your chimneys clean, enclosing your fireplaces with a screen and keeping debris away from space heaters, you can reduce the chances of having your house burned. Another step you can take to catch a fire in its early stages is placing fire alarms in your home.

“It is imperative for people to have detectors in their home. These are simple devices that can save your life, and they are easy to maintain. All you have to do is check them once a week by pressing one button and change the batteries twice a year,” Driver said. “Now, with the time change just around the corner, it is a good time to change your batteries so you can remember the next time to put new ones in.”