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Columbus Fire Officials Urge Preventative Measures During Peak Season For House Fires

Child Injury Prevention Alliance

Columbus fire officials are urging people to take precautions to prevent tragic fires like those in New York and Philadelphia where a total of 31 have people died.

“This is our peak season for house fires,” said Columbus Battalion Fire Chief Steve Martin. “And in the winter months, the main cause is going to mobile heating and other means of heating the houses.”

Martin said space heaters if used properly can work safely, however, they need to be examined.

“The cords have a lot of electricity running through them and over years they can become dry and brittle, and the wires will be exposed and can cause a problem,” said Martin. He recommends never leaving them on at night or when no one is in the room.

“Make sure that heater has a feature on it that if the heater tips over it cuts off automatically,” said Martin. “That’s how they’re designed. If that feature is not working, it’s time to get a new one.”

Martin said many heat-related materials can become flammable.

“Any source of heat whether it be a candle or space heater, or means to cook, if you keep that heat away from fuel that’s the best thing,” said Martin. “So just keep an eye on making sure that something flammable is not getting too close to something hot.”

Martin said he doesn’t recommend the widespread use of fire extinguishers by civilians.

“We have had some fatalities in the last few years where somebody has died while trying to fight a fire that was too big for the fire extinguisher they had,” said Martin. “What we try to push for everybody to do is just get out and leave the firefighting to the firefighters.”

Columbus residents can call the smoke alarm hotline at 614-724-0935 for more information about preventive measures.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.