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Cleaning with Fire Prevention

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE La. -- Spring is the time when we go outside and start playing sports and pulling out the grill for barbecues. It's also the time of the year when we clean house and clear the bugs and trash built up during the winter. While spring is a time for us to go outside and have fun there are some spring cleaning tips the Barksdale Fire Prevention office would like to inform you about to get you started on the right track. The following fire prevention measures will help prepare you for the upcoming season.

Smoke detectors should be checked on a monthly basis and the batteries changed every year or when you hear them "chirp." Smoke detectors have become such a common feature in homes that it is easy to take them for granted. U.S. fire statistics for home structure fires from  2000-2004 reveal that 22 percent of civilian deaths occurred in homes with smoke alarms present, but failed to operate. Checking your smoke detectors on a regular basis will ensure that they will operate in the event of an emergency.

Home appliances also present a hazard if not properly maintained. Dryer lint traps need to be cleaned before and after each use. Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and that the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating.
The stove, which is the most common place for home fires, should always be taken seriously. Tips to follow when cooking with a stove are to: always stay in the kitchen, watch your clothing and be aware of items around the stove that can catch fire.

Outside the house is another place that can pose a fire hazard if not kept clean. Make sure you keep gasoline for lawn equipment in tightly-capped containers specifically intended for that use placed in a garage or lawn shed and never store it in the home. Oily rags, trash, and other combustible materials outside the house can also present a fire hazard.

Remember, spring is a good time to have fun and get together with family, but the Fire Prevention office wants to make sure that you follow these guidelines so you can enjoy it safely.

Never forget that in the event of fire or emergency, dial 9-1-1.