TAVARES — As part of the Annual Fire Prevention Week, the Lake County Department of Public Safety, Fire Rescue Division, is stepping up its public-education efforts to remind residents how to prevent home fires.
During this year's fire safety campaign, firefighters and safety advocates from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are spreading the word about preventing all the leading causes of home fires — cooking, heating and electrical equipment, and smoking materials. Additionally, fire safety educators will be teaching local residents how to plan and practice escape from a home in case a fire occurs.
According to the latest research from NFPA, more than 2,500 people died in home fires in the United States in 2006 and 12,500 were injured. Fire departments responded to 396,000 home fires in 2006, which accounted for 80 percent of civilian deaths and 76 percent of injuries.
“While the number of home fires is daunting, the good news is that many are easily preventable when residents take simple steps to increase their safety from fire,” said Jack Fillman, Assistant Fire Chief of the Lake County Fire Rescue Division.
During this month, the Lake County Fire Rescue Division has scheduled nearly two dozen visits to community events and local schools to help educate residents on how to prevent home fires. Visits include stops to Treadway, Umatilla, Leesburg, Astatula and Sawgrass elementary schools.
A few tips to preventing home fires include:
• Cooking: Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period time, turn off the stove.
• Heating: Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
• Electrical: Replace cracked and damaged electrical cords; use extension cords for temporary wiring only. Consider having additional circuits or receptacles added by a qualified electrician.
• Smoking: If you smoke, smoke outside; wherever you smoke, use deep, sturdy ashtrays.
For more information about fire prevention, call the Lake County Department of Public Safety, Fire Rescue Division, at (352) 343-9458.