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Kent Fire Department offers winter safety tips

Kent firefighters battle a blaze two years ago on the East Hill. - Kent Reporter, file photo
Kent firefighters battle a blaze two years ago on the East Hill.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

The Kent Fire Department Regional Fire Authority asks all residents to consider the following fire and life safety tips to help ensure they have a safe and enjoyable holiday season:

• Carbon Monoxide: (CO) is a colorless, almost odorless and tasteless gas which is present during any type of burning. This includes wood stoves, gas furnaces, wood burning fireplaces, generators and vehicle emissions. When inhaled, it depletes the oxygen supply in the blood stream. Symptoms of CO poisoning include lightheadedness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizures, decreased levels of consciousness, and in extreme cases, death. Already this fall we have had two deaths in the area attributed to CO poisoning.

Residents can be proactive and protect themselves by following these simple steps:

Have all CO producing devices in the home inspected by a professional.

Never bring barbecues or running generators into a home.

Purchase and install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home.

If you or someone in your home begins complaining of the symptoms listed above or your CO alarm activates, leave your residence immediately and call 911.

• Smoke Alarms: Have working smoke alarms and know how to escape if they activate. Change the batteries annually and replace your smoke alarms every 10 years.

• Electric heaters: Ensure that all portable space heaters and baseboard heaters have at least 3 feet of clearance around them to prevent fires. Keep all combustibles such as curtains, bedding and clothing away. Purchase heaters that have an auto-shutoff feature when tipped over.

• Cooking: Whenever you are cooking, “keep an eye on what you fry." Never leave the kitchen when cooking and always keep pan lids handy. If a pan catches on fire, simply place the matching lid on the pan while wearing an oven mitt. Once the lid is on, turn off the burner and call 911.

• Candles: During the holidays and power outages candles are commonly used for decoration and light. Use them wisely. Place candles in a non-tipping base and set them where they cannot be easily knocked over by children, pets and breezes. Always keep candles away from combustibles such as drapes, bedding, clothing, holiday decorations and Christmas trees. Lastly, “when you go out – blow it out." Never leave candles burning when you leave the room.

• Decoration: Keep paper or other flammable decorations away from heat sources. Ensure breakable decorations such as tree ornaments are kept out of the reach of children and pets. Make sure all holiday lights, extension cords and other electrical devices have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal of approval. Never overload extension cords or create an extension cord “octopus."

Contact the Kent Fire Department at 253-856-4480 for further information and tips.

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