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Thursday, October 16, 2014

fire safety - Scott Nemet

Thank you to Scott Nemet for sharing some very helpful tips for fire prevention and safety. I am personally so grateful for the suggestions and real ideas these firefighters have offered to we parents. I know I've learned a lot and intend to make some changes in my home ASAP. I hope this has helped you, mommas!

1.     How long have you been working in the fire prevention support field? Where do you work?
I have been a member of the Lee Fire & Rescue Department for over 15 years. In 2004 I was hired as a Full Time Firefighter at which time I became involved in fire prevention classes with the elementary school and many daycares in town. I am currently the Fire Chief and my duties include Fire Inspections as well.  

2.     What are some of the most important things you think all home-owners need to consider when it comes to fire prevention?
The first defense is having working smoke detectors. Many times the smoke detectors are overlooked and sometimes even removed. You should have at least one detector on every floor and new constructed homes require one on every floor, in every sleeping room, and outside of each sleeping room in the immediate vicinity of the sleeping rooms. 

3.     What is something you think all parents of young children need to talk to their kids about when it comes to fire safety?

I think all parents should speak to their kids about fire drills in the home, having a meeting place, calling 911, and about not playing with fire. You can never start too young. 

4.     How should parents talk to their children about fire safety or what to do in case of an emergency (where to meet up, what to do when fire alarms go off, etc.)? At what age do you think kids should be talked to about this?
A good tool that can be used with children is through the National Fire Protection Association, This is an interactive website that children can learn about many of these items. I think the earlier you expose and talk to your children about fire safety the better.  

Parents can also go to to learn more about important safety topics. 

5.     Any suggestions for those kids who sleep through anything, including loud fire alarms? 
There have been studies on this. The best thing to do is have an escape plan and go to your children’s room to make sure they are awake. 

6.     Any suggestions on helping kids realize that smoke alarms are not scary, that they are there to help us and to get out of the house?
The best thing to do is to talk to the children from a early age and practice fire drills. The children practice fire drills multiple times throughout the year at their school and this will assist with the children understanding they are not scary. Although the sound can be loud it is necessary to get everyone out of the house. 

7.     What type of maintenance can families do in their homes to prevent fires? 
Utilize to learn what you can do. Another item is your home heating source. Furnaces and wood stoves should be inspected and cleaned every year. Be sure to hire a professional that is trained for your heating source. Most fire departments conduct courtesy limited visual woodstove and chimney inspections. 

8.     What are your recommendations about using washing machines and dryers (on during the night while you're sleeping? clean the vent how often? leave it running while you leave the house or not? why?)
My recommendations would be to use them while you are home. I currently do this at my house. Remember to clean the lint filter before every use. Periodically inspect the venting system to make sure it is not damaged or crushed. The interior of the dryer and the venting system should be cleaned and inspected by a qualified person. 

9.     Any recommendations about other appliances in the house - unplug toasters? only run dishwasher when someone is home? What about crockpots? etc.
Personally I unplug my toaster and only run my dishwasher when we are home. I make sure these items including crockpots are manufactured by a reputable company. Most of these items are UL tested. The company certifies, validates, tests, and inspects appliances and many other items. 

10.  What do you find is one of the more common causes to house fires? 

Cooking equipment is the leading cause of house fires.

11.  What do you recommend for fire safety boxes, safes, etc. for families to keep important items? Any special brands or ideas on this?
I cannot recommend a brand but I would start by thinking about what you would like to store so you purchase the right size safe. Also place it in a part of the house that you can remember. A couple years ago we had a house fire where sadly they lost most items. The safe was placed in the basement in a certain corner of the house. With the homeowners knowledge of this we found it through the all the debris. 

12.  For those who go through a fire situation, what do you think are some of the best things others can do to support them during that difficult time?
Being there for them. Assisting them with anything that can get them back to normalcy. 

13.  What are some things you teach young children about fire safety? Are there certain things you say, books parents could read, etc. that help them learn about preventing fires or what to do during fires? 
I would tell every parent to visit their local fire department. The firefighters love to talk with the children and show both the parents and children our equipment and trucks. 

Fires can be a scary situation and having a person in full fire gear in your house can be scary. In our fire prevention classes we have a firefighter dress in our gear to show the kids we are not scary and are there to help them. Many children hide from the firefighters. We want them to know we are there to help. Every day can be a learning experience for the children and parents. 

If the smoke detector goes off while cooking dinner practice your drills and explain to the kids why the smoke detector went off. I think the NFPA website provides great tools for the children to learn about fire prevention. 

14.  Anything else you want to add? 
Make sure your home is labeled with 4 inch reflective numbers so the fire department can find your home. Remember we respond to incidents in all types of weather at all hours of the day and night. Have a fire extinguisher that is visible in the home. Inspect it once a month. Replace every 10 years. 

Have smoke detectors on every floor of your home including the basement. Replace the batteries every 6 months. Replace the detector every 10 years.

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