As Ohio braces for winter storms this weekend, the state’s chief of the Fire Prevention Bureau says there are things Ohioans should do to reduce their risk of accidental fires. In an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, Chief Frank Conway explains there are several things that should concern Ohioans.
CONWAY: “We have concerns in regards to where the space heaters may be positioned in the home, making sure there's a safe, clear distance between the space heater and items that may burn, such as bedding or clothing or furniture. Also, maintain a clear distance so that it’s not an area that the children would play in, so we have a kind of free zone for the children.”
INGLES: "And you are also concerned that if they are refilling those space heaters with kerosene and such -- to make sure they cool those before they refill them, right?”
CONWAY: “Yes, that’s correct. Cool them and then also refill them outside of the home, so that the fumes aren't in the house, or if there is any spillage that it’s not contaminating the house area or creating an additional fire hazard."
INGLES: "And as far as using their stove as a heat source, that’s not a good idea, right?”
CONWAY: “That is never a good idea. That’s not the intent of the range. It’s not to be used to supplement the heat. We may be experiencing some power outages and we may have some people using generators. So we're concerned about generator safety and using alternative sources of heat and carbon monoxide in the home as well.”
INGLES: "Now what about, if you use a generator, first of all, you say don’t hook it into a direct source outside, like power lines or something like that, right?”
CONWAY: “Correct. Sometimes individuals buy the generators and electricians hook them up for them so that if power cuts off, these will kick in and run -- and if power goes back online, they fall off and discontinue to be used. We don’t encourage the homeowner to do that type of wiring or connectivity. If they are going to use the generator then they just need to be using that outside of the home and to run some basic appliances in the house itself.”
INGLES: "And then don’t run the cords underneath the rugs or carpet, right?”
CONWAY: “That is correct. The power or extension cords will break down over a period of time as people travel over them. I realize people may do that because they consider it to be a trip hazard. But what is happening is that cord will start to wear, they won't be able to see the wear -- and they could be a source of ignition for a fire.”
INGLES: "And then they should look for prongs that are bent or wiring that is frayed, things like that -- throw it away, right?”
CONWAY: “That is correct. You want to use the approved type writing and wiring or plus with the three-pronged adapter to it.”
Conway says everyone should also make sure their fire alarms are installed properly and in working condition.