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Fire prevention tips always good

Grilling, camping and other outdoor ‘-ing activities are settling in for spring and summer. Sometimes some of those can involve fire, especially the first two. That brings to mind that the summer burn ban is in effect.

The burn ban is a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality-imposed restriction to help improve the city’s air quality and reduce the number of responses for refuse, grass, brush and woodland fires. The open burn ban includes all types of burning, from burning in a barrel to commercial land clearing operations. Devices like fire bowls and chimineas are exempt from the ban, but a responsible person must constantly attend the fire and have some method of extinguishment at hand.

Even though winter is the most common time for fires at home, fire safety tips always bear repeating — even in May.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food.
  • Keep children away from cooking areas.
  • Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings and out from under eaves and branches.
  • Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.
  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away.
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off.
  • Don’t smoke in bed or if you have been drinking or using medication that makes you drowsy.
  • Replace frayed wires and damaged cords.
  • Shut off and have a professional replace light switches that are hot to the touch or lights that flicker.
  • Teach children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
  • Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight.
  • Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles.