IFD promoting home safety

Published 11:20 pm Saturday, December 11, 2010

The City of Ironton and the Ironton Fire Department want to make sure the homes in Ironton are as safe as possible. To do that, they are offering home fire safety evaluations for the residents.

The inspections will be done from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday. Appointments can be made by calling the fire department at (740) 532-1301.

“Per capita in the state of Ohio, we have the leading fire death rate,” Fire Chief Tom Runyon said about Lawrence County.

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He said that fact stirred interest in taking an active approach to helping people make safer decisions in their homes.

“We can just drop off a checklist at the home, or we can do the evaluation with them and explain any possible problems we find,” Runyon said. “That will be at their discretion.”

He added they are not doing formal inspections, like for a business, and they are not going to write orders.

“It’s an absolutely free home safety evaluation and an educational thing on using appliances, cooking, the proper use of extension cords and auxiliary heating equipment,” he said.

Runyon said they will also check smoke detectors and if they are not working properly, they will recommend they be replaced. If someone can’t afford to replace it, he said the fire department would make sure they get one.

“We have been trying to come up with more effective ways to provide safety,” he said. He added that while this is voluntary for residents, he feels citizens deserve to make sure they are safe.

“The biggest problem this time of year is the misuse of extension cords,” Runyon said. He said using extension cords for things like televisions and video games when there aren’t enough outlets is a hazard.

He also added the misuse of heating and auxiliary appliances is also a big contributor to fires.

He offered a word of caution for people who smoke cigarettes, saying not to empty ashtrays until the cigarettes have cooled, and not to smoke around oxygen or in bed.

Keeping gasoline and equipment like lawn mowers in utility rooms is another problem Runyon said people don’t think of.

“Hopefully people will use this information and share it with family and friends outside of the city to help them become safer as well,” he said.

The program will begin Monday.