12 On Your Side: Tragic house fire sheds light on fire safety measures



News 12 at 6 o'clock / October 14, 2013

"I think a lot of people think that it's not going to happen to me," says Augusta firefighter Carlton Bradley. But while a house fire can spread quickly often times it is the smoke that can be deadly. "Most of the fires that we deal with as far as residential fires deal with cooking related fires," says Bradley.

He says nearly half of all residential fires start in the kitchen. "Between 45% and 50% of residential fires are related to when somebody leaves something on the stove unattended," says Bradley.

He says folks should not leave the house or even the room while cooking. "You start doing something else. going in the back room getting on the computer or turn the stove on and leave home to go to the grocery store or go to church or stuff like that," says Bradley.

The National Fire Protection Association says: do not cook when your tired or intoxicated, keep an eye on what you fry and keep things like dish towels, potholders and paper towels away from the stove.

Bradley is also urging folks to have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in their homes and apartments and know what to do if a fire breaks out.

"Make sure your family has a fire escape plan everybody knows what to do in case of a fire," says Bradley.

The NFPA says between 2005 and 2009, nearly 40% of home fire deaths occurred where no smoke detectors were present. In addition to having a working smoke detector Bradley is urging families to develop a plan should a fire break out.

"Practice, practice, practice those fire escape plans for home," says Bradley. Fire officials say space heaters are another cause of house fires and as temperatures begin to drop folks will begin using them. They urge extreme caution with these devices and recommend keeping them away from drapes and materials that can easily catch fire.

Officials also says that smoke detector batteries should be changed twice a year during day light savings.

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