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Fire Safety Reminders

Fire Safety

There have been at least five home fires in Wayne County over the past two weeks, prompting fire officials and the American Red Cross to remind area residents of important fire prevention and safety tips.

As you decorate and entertain during the holidays, please remember to follow safety measures to ensure that your home and loved ones are safe from the threat of fire. “This time of year, it’s better to be conscious of fire safety rules than to be sorry after the fact,” said Wayne County Fire Coordinator Rick Bond.

“We’ll continue to work alongside the fire coordinator, local fire departments and other community partners to promote fire prevention and safety,” noted Carlos McCluskey, executive director of the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross"Additionally, staff and volunteers are ready to assist families affected by fires and other disasters.”

Here are some important reminders as you light holiday candles, string up lights and gather with family and friends.

Keep children, pets and decorations away from lit candles. Make sure candles are placed in sturdy holders to avoid tipping over. Keep candles away from combustible items.

While cooking, check food regularly and remain in the home. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.

Choose decorations and artificial trees that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Don’t use electric lights on metal trees.

When using a live tree, make sure that it’s fresh and not shedding needles. Water trees daily. Keep artificial and live trees away from sources of heat.

Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended.

Don’t burn wrapping paper in a fireplace or wood-burning appliance.

If hanging stockings on the fireplace, don’t use the fireplace for fires.

Keep items that can catch fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.

Replace any string of lights that have worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections. Only use lights that are laboratory-tested and UL approved. Unplug lights before going to bed at night.

The American Red Cross has launched an initiative to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent over the next five years. The Red Cross is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home. As part of the Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross is joining with fire departments and community groups nationwide to install free smoke alarms in homes that need them. For more information or to schedule an installation appointment, email or call 607-936-3766.

Last year, the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to 78 fires in single and multi-family homes, providing assistance to 124 families. The chapter serves Wayne, Yates, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben and Chemung counties. There is an ongoing need for Disaster Services volunteers to provide these essential services. Prospective volunteers can join the ranks upon successfully completing an initial screening process and training requirements. Each recruit works under the auspices of a mentor to ease the process.

Volunteer opportunities are also available in Blood Services, Service to the Armed Force, and Health and Safety Services.

For additional information, contact Volunteer Services Specialist Zachariah Riley at