Due to the two recent accidental fires, all within 16 hours, that destroyed one of our community member’s homes and seriously damaged another. I feel it important to remind us all of the inherent problems that are brought on by cold weather and our efforts to keep warm.
During the coming weeks, as cold weather becomes regularity, we all will be increasing usage of fireplaces, wood stoves, and other heating sources. Chimney’s should be cleaned and inspected by a professional at least once a year and/or before frequent use.
OIFR urges residents to always have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; if possible in each room. We recommend having a readily available fire extinguisher near the fireplace, in the kitchen, and near any other heat source that you may be using. Additionally, please check your sources of heat for safety and function. Portable heaters should have a seal of approval from an independent testing laboratory and make sure the unit has an automatic shut-off function. Heat sources should have a clear space of several feet. Avoid placing flammable objects near heat sources, including baseboard heaters.
We also would encourage you to talk with your family about exit routes from the home and practice a pre-fire plan, making sure each person understands two ways to get out of the house and where to meet in the yard in case of an emergency. If you have any questions about fire safety, please do not hesitate to contact Orcas Island Fire & Rescue’s Inspector, R.J. Meyers.