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A few safety concerns accompany autumn

Staff Reports

While Monday saw a record 12 degrees, night-time temperatures have since been in the upper 20s and daytime highs have been in the 70s, providing plenty of time for Douglas County residents to prepare for the winter.

Winter means residents will likely be burning their wood stoves and fireplaces more often, and stocking up on firewood.

Heating equipment and improper ash disposal are leading causes of home and wildland fires during the fall and winter months.

As a safety precaution keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a fireplace, wood stove, or any other heating appliance, and create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires. It is important to make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying, and never leave a fire unattended, particularly when children are present.

With the end of daylight savings time on Sunday, the American Red Cross of Northern Nevada is reminding residents to check and replace smoke alarm batteries to protect against home fires on Nov. 1.

According to the Red Cross, on average, seven people die every day from a home fire. Three of every five home-fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or alarms not working. Having working smoke alarms cuts the risk of death from a fire in half.

Even with smoke alarms, residents only have an average of two minutes to escape a burning home.

“One of the easiest ways to protect your home and family is to make sure that you have a working smoke alarm,” said Mary Powell, executive director of the Northern Nevada chapter. “Installing a smoke alarm helps prevent injuries, death and destruction of property.”

In homes with working smoke alarms, residents are urged to practice fire escape plans with their families at least twice a year.

That includes designating a meeting spot where they can meet at a safe distance, making sure children know what the alarm sounds like and what to do when it goes off.

There are materials to help residents with preparing for fires at http://www.redcross.org