By GAYLE FRATTO
SVFD Assistant Chief
January has not only started out busy for the fire service in West Virginia, it has started out to be tragic.
Already in 2017, West Virginia has seen six fatalities in three weeks. Two of these fatalities have been in our first due or mutual aid areas.
So, what do we do? We make changes. Educate yourself on fire prevention. Make an emergency plan with your family and practice it. Those aren’t easy discussions to have, but they are discussions that will save your life.
The WV Fire Marshal’s Office recently put out a news alert on the fact that a number of residential fire deaths have been started as a result of smoking around home medical oxygen. The press release advises taking the following precautions in homes where medical oxygen is being used:
- There is no safe way to smoke in the home when oxygen is in use. A patient on oxygen should not smoke.
- Candles, matches, wood stoves, and even sparking toys can be ignition sources and should not be used in the home.
- Oxygen cylinders must be kept at least five feet from a heat source, open flame or electrical device.
- Body oil, hand lotion and items containing oil and grease can easily ignite and must be kept away from where oxygen is in use.
- Never use aerosol sprays containing combustible materials near the oxygen.
The best way to protect yourself from fire is to prevent it. Secondly, make sure you are prepared in the event that a fire does occur.