Work to prevent residential fires

October 07, 2001 11:00 pm

Work to prevent

residential fires

The recent fatal home fire in Hermiston and the one that burned a La Grande home last week are reminders of the need to take fire prevention seriously. Every home should have a fire safety escape plan and the whole family should practice it twice a year. Whats more, with winter coming soon, families should complete a fire inspection of the home together.

Fire departments across Oregon are teaching children and their elders steps to lower the risk of residential fires. Some suggestions in a nutshell:

Whats cooking? Keep a close eye on the kitchen, and keep cooking surfaces clean and free of grease. If a grease fire erupts, put a lid on it to squelch the flames. Avoid using water, as it will make the fire spread.

Watch those piles. Be careful with portable and space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves. Make sure items like furnishings, drapes and old newspapers are at least 36 inches away.

Fall cleaning time. Chimneys and wood stoves should be cleaned and inspected once a year, except if they are your main heat source. Then do it twice.

Fraying involves more than nerves. Inspect electrical cords and plugs for fraying and cracking and replace damaged cords promptly.

Be alarmed. Install smoke alarms outside each sleeping area, on every level of the house and in every bedroom. Test alarms monthly. Replace any that are 10 years old.

Be findable. Make sure your house number is printed in large numbers so rescue personnel can find your home easily in an emergency.

Want to know more? Need a free fire safety checklist? Go to the Fire Prevention Week Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org. Who knows? Your life or the life of a loved one could be saved.

Pitch in to help

Image is nothing and action everything, the saying goes. Well, in La Grande, for one week at least, image and action are everything.

Let us explain. Many of us wonder what we can do to help the victims of the New York City and Washington, D.C., terrorist attacks. Its good to see the hairdressers and cosmetologists of La Grande doing their part, as so many others have, to help the victims and their families. Participating hairdressers and cosmetologists will be donating part of their proceeds this week to the cause, and this means customers can get in on the act too. People can make out checks to the firefighter relief fund through the La Grande Firefighters Local Union 924 or the International Association of Firefighters.

A lot has been written about the collapse of community in America, about self-centeredness, a loss of common interests, a decent versus a decadent society. If the tragedy has done anything, it has brought us together as a nation. It has helped us see beyond our selfish interests to the greater good. We have been cemented as Americans in a mutual interest of preserving and strengthening the freedoms we cherish, and fund-raising drives, especially ones that marry image and action, are a good way to get involved.