By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

With so many people staying at home due to the Covid-19 Virus, we need to be extra careful. Throw in cold, stormy weather and the fire threat increases!

Here are some simple reminders to keep you safe:

When cooking, make fire safety a priority by keeping these tips in mind:


Be alert; if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the oven or stovetop

Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food

When simmering, baking or roasting, check the food regularly, remain in the kitchen while cooking and use a timer

Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop

Heating is the second leading cause of home fires. Follow these tips from the American Red Cross:

Keep all flammables, like paper, clothing, bedding, drapes or rugs, at least 3 feet from a space heater, stove or fireplace

Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended; turn off heaters and make sure fireplace embers are extinguished before leaving the room

If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, nonflammable surface, like ceramic tile, not on a rug or carpet

Keep children and pets away from space heaters

When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over

In addition to cooking, other top causes of fire include smoking, electrical problems and candles. To minimize risks:

Institute a “no smoking” policy in the house

Check all cords and replace any that are frayed or have bare wires

Switch to flameless candles

Keep matches and lighters high and out of children’s reach in a locked cabinet

Working Smoke Alarms Are a Must!

The National Fire Protection Association recommends you:

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas on the ceiling or high on the wall

Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen, at least 10 feet from the stove, to reduce false alarms

Use special alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers for people who are hard of hearing or deaf

Test smoke alarms monthly

Replace batteries annually, and change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector at the same time

Replace smoke alarms that are 10 or more years old

Make an Escape Plan:

Start by drawing a map for your home and following these guidelines from the NFPA:

Plan two ways to escape from each room

Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily

Identify secondary routes – a window onto an adjacent roof or a collapsible ladder from upper-story windows

Designate an outside meeting place a safe distance from the house where everyone should meet

Now Practice Your Home Fire Escape Plan- Remember to:

Practice getting out with your eyes closed, crawling low to the floor and keeping your mouth covered

Practice closing doors behind you

Practice how to “stop, drop and roll” if your clothes catch on fire

Practice testing door handles to see if they are hot before opening them

Teach children never to hide during a fire, and how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them

If you have any fire/life safety questions contact your local fire dept!