GREAT FALLS — Fire prevention is critical this time of year as people and businesses start to turn furnaces and heaters on for the first time in months.
Great Falls Fire Rescue anticipates more calls this time of year related to smoke alarms, carbon monoxide monitors, heaters, candles, and holiday decorations.
"This is typically the time of year where we start to see an influx in those types of calls with CO alarms going off. You know, maybe people even smelling gas smells because their furnaces are firing up for the first time in six months," Engineer Adam Jordan said. "We do see an uptick in those types of calls."
This is also the start of Fire Prevention Week, and they're going to schools teaching kids about fire prevention and safety. GFFR is also conducting a Fire Prevention Essay Contest for kids to stress the importance of getting out safely. The topic this year is: "Why should you have a fire escape plan and what would that plan include?" Click here for details about the contest.
The National Fire Prevention Association says:
Smoke alarms sense smoke well before you can, alerting you to danger. Smoke alarms need to be in every bedroom, outside of the sleeping areas (like a hallway), and on each level (including the basement) of your home. Do not put smoke alarms in your kitchen or bathrooms.
Choose an alarm that is listed with a testing laboratory, meaning it has met certain standards for protection.
For the best protection, use combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are interconnected throughout the home. These can be installed by a qualified electrician, so that when one sounds, they all sound. This ensures you can hear the alarm no matter where in your home the alarm originates.
Not everyone thinks of a fire erupting in their home, but it's a good idea to have an idea of what to do should that ever happen.
"One of the things for adults is just to have a good idea of a plan, you know, in your own house. Have a plan of what to do. As the furnaces are starting to kick on again, if you smell gas, make sure you get out of the structure and call 911. We'll come and we'll monitor that," said Jordan.
If your CO alarms are going off, check those things and see. You know, there'll be indications on what that noise means. If it's one beep, two beeps, three on the back, it will tell you what it's indicating. Sometimes it's as simple as a battery that needs to be replaced. So it's always a good idea to check your battery, especially this time of year."
There's also plenty you can do around your home to make sure everything is working properly, and it's not as complicated as it might seem.
"You can even go in and look around your furnace and look to make sure that your vent stack is still appropriately attached. There's no cracks. There's nothing where CO is going to escape from there. There's a lot of things that a homeowner can do. And that's as simple as even looking up on the Internet for fire prevention with furnaces. And you'll find a list of things that you can do."
- 1 person dead in Great Falls crash
- Gunshots fired in Great Falls
- PHOTOS: 'pack' of wolverines
- Teacher dies after bicycle crash
- Obituary: Constance Becker
- 2 charged for Blaine County vandalism