LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Lafayette Fire Department has a new year’s resolution for the community to have no house fire injuries this year.
Lafayette Fire inspector, Todd Trent believes it can happen with correct prevention and preparation.
As temperatures drop you may be tempted to pull out the space heater. Trent said it's a major cause of house fires this time of year with nearly 500,000 structure fires annually, space heaters create 12% of those at about 15,000 annually across the nation.
A space heater fire often starts from objects being too close to the box, or electrical issues with the outlet. Trent said these fires can be prevented if you take preventive measures before using.
“You wanna make sure they're three feet away from any clothes any type of combustible material and we want to make sure that we plug them directly into the main outlet,” said Trent.
If you have a fireplace, there's a procedure to prevent fires from catching in the chimney.
“You wanna make sure that your chimney had been maintained and swept annually or to the manufacture guidelines and also as you discard your ashes that they get discarded into a metal can with a lid,” said Trent. “And before you take that outside make sure you douce that in water, we don't want you setting that on any type of wooden deck and make sure you get it away frm your structure or your dwelling."
There were nearly 23-hundred deadly house fires across the country last year, 72 of them in Indiana. Trent said the best way to prepare for a house fire is knowing your escape routes and more importantly having working smoke alarms.
According to Trent, early notification from smoke alarms can typically give you two extra minutes to get out. He said you should replace the batteries in your smoke detector every time change.
Within the last 20 years, Trent says he's noticed homes being built with more flammable materials so a new home doesn't necessarily mean better safety.
“You might have the safest house but at the end of the day, the only way that you're gonna get early notification is the alarms and to get out in a safe manner,” said Trent.
Although the alarm going off after accidentally over cooking your food may be annoying, Trent said it's never wise to take the batteries out or remove the alarm.
“We can make sure that everybody's educated and to get every tool possible but they have to take responsibility to make sure that they understand that fire is a very dangerous business,” said Trent.
Trent said he's challenging the community to be prepared now, rather than sorry later.