Fire Department shares safety tips

Fire officials advise to check smoke detectors twice a year

In order to prevent an unwanted visit from the fire department officials say there are a few key things to pay attention to in order to prevent fires.

Albany Fire Department Chief James Carswell says his department has responded to a few kitchen grease fires recently and that they are easily preventable. He says grease fires usually begin because of grease build up under the burner and it ignites the cooking tool which then ignites the kitchen. Cleaning up after the stove is used will greatly reduce the chances of a grease fire starting in your kitchen.

When cooking Chief Carswell advises to stay near the food at all times. "If you absolutely have to leave take a spoon or an oven mitt with you that way you have a physical reminder that you have something on the stove and can't stay away for long" says Carswell.

As the weather gets cooler fire departments receive more calls about burning smells because of heaters. Officials say not to worry, it's actually normal. "Dust collects on the coils of the heater just like it does anything else. The system will burn the dust off and that naturally has a burning odor to it" says Carswell. One tip is to open all windows the first time the heat is turned on to minimize the burning smell inside of a home.

Fire officials say everyone in a family needs to be educated on fire warning signs and what to do in case of an emergency. Albany Fire Department Investigator Sam Hall says educating children and teens is just as important as educating the other adults in the home. "Parents should be teaching their children about fire safety in their homes so that they are educated and the kids can actually help the parents by showing them when things are wrong. Everyone should know the basics of stop, drop, and roll, and the evacuation plan" says Harris.

House fires used to kill 10-12,000 people a year, however now that smoke detectors are in most homes, that number is down to 3-4,000 a year. Fire officials advise everyone to check the batteries in their smoke detector at least twice a year, preferably every six months.

Fore more information on Fire Safety Prevention Month click here.