WALDORF, Md. – The snow has melted, the rain and wind is beginning to subside, the plants are budding and the trees are blooming. Spring is arriving and your thoughts may be turning to that dreaded ritual of spring cleaning. With it comes a timely reminder to keep your home safe from the threat of fire. In an effort to make this “Spring Cleanup” a fire safe one, Charles County Volunteer Fire and EMS Departments provide the following fire safety tips:
• Clean your garage of stored newspapers or other rubbish that can fuel a fire.
• Test your smoke alarms monthly.
• To help prevent nuisance alarms, gently vacuum your smoke alarm every six months or as needed.
• Change batteries in smoke alarms, flashlights and carbon monoxide detectors.
• Never borrow smoke alarm batteries to use for toys or other equipment.
• Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years or as recommended by the manufacturer.
• Keep outdoor debris or dead vegetation away from the house.
• Properly dispose of oily or greasy rags. If these items must be stored, they should be kept in labeled, sealed, metal containers.
• If you store gasoline, keep it outside your home in a shed or detached garage. Keep only small quantities in tightly sealed containers. Use gasoline only as a motor fuel – never as a cleaning agent.
• Use outdoor barbecue grills with caution. Place in a safe area away from building, windows, heating, and air conditioning units.
• Never use gasoline to start the fire, and don’t add charcoal lighter fluid once the fire has started.
• Use barbecue grills outside only – not under overhangs or balconies, and away from combustibles.
• Check your propane barbecue grill hose for leaks and cracks; never store propane indoors.
If you have any questions or would like clarification about these or any fire safety tips, please contact your local volunteer fire/EMS department. Volunteer opportunities are available.