By Edward Chavez, Fire Inspector, JBLM Fire and Emergency ServicesApril 4, 2019
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- With the arrival of spring comes an even greater reason to stay vigilante when it comes to fire prevention. Warm days bring about activities that can create hazardous situations. Here are some fire safety tips to remember:
• Check to ensure fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
• Change the batteries and then test them.
• For JBLM families living off base, check the age of the smoke alarm as well.
•The National Fire Protection Association recommend that home smoke alarms be replaced every 10 years.
Cooking is still the number one cause of all housing fires in the United States. The NFPA reports fire departments respond to an average of 162,400 cooking fires annually. That means that three out of every five fires involves cooking equipment, with 34 percent related to unattended cooking. Some additional tips to follow:
• When cooking, stay in the kitchen.
• Keep children at a minimum of three feet from the cooking area.
• Have the lid handy if frying on the stove top.
• If a stove fire does ignite, cover the pan with the lid, and shut off power to the burner. Leave the pan in place when you evacuate and always call 911.
• Baking soda is also an excellent extinguishing agent if a pot lid is not handy.
• If a fire ignites in the oven, shut it off, close the over door, get out of the house and call 911.
Spring cleaning is a good idea each year as materials can pile up quickly and create a hazard, as can equipment that hasn't been cleaned since the previous season.
• If it's difficult to reach the back of spaces such as garages or shed, then it's time to thin the area out. Most of these storage items can ignite easily and burn readily if a fire started.
• Ensure all lawn equipment such as lawn mowers and weed eaters are in working order before using.
• Clean propane barbecue grills and check fixtures for rust and hoses for leakage.
• When starting the propane grill for the first time after cleaning, if there is no ignition, shut off the propane source and leave the top open to ventilate. If that still doesn't solve the problem, seek a professional for assistance.
It takes the assistance of everyone on the base to keep JBLM safe.
For more information, call 253-966-7164.