SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OFSM) is making a special effort to remind the public about the importance of safety awareness during the month of June, which is National Home Safety Month. Families across the state are encouraged to prevent tragedies from occurring by taking the time to evaluate every fire safety feature in their homes. This year the nation celebrates 100 years of promoting home safety during the month of June, an initiative established to create a culture of safety awareness at home, in the work place, schools, daycare centers and senior housing facilities.
“Fire safety starts at home. Our responsibility is to stress the importance of having working smoke alarms in every home as a tool to promptly alert us if a fire breaks out,” said Larry Matkaitis, State Fire Marshal. “During this month, every resident should be proactive by following simple guidelines to stay safe. And keep in mind the theme of this year’s National Home Safety Month observance: Safety starts with me! That means everyone has a role to play in keeping our homes safe.”
During June, OSFM reminds residents to pay extra attention while cooking in the kitchen, grilling, and camping.
The following tips are essential to keeping every home safe:
• Install smoke alarms on each floor of your home and within 15 feet of your sleeping quarters. Regularly check the batteries and test your alarms.
• Compile a home safety kit (emergency preparedness kit) for your family. Include things like flashlights with extra batteries, blankets, food, water and a battery-powered weather radio. Keep the kit in an easily-accessible place, so you can quickly grab it in case of an emergency.
• Have a fire extinguisher handy in case of a small fire which would be easy to put out.
• Make a plan for what to do if an emergency (like a fire, tornado or earthquake) occurs. For fires, have an escape plan. In case of inclement weather, make sure everyone knows the safest place in your home to go to. Practice the plans often.
• Keep a first aid kit stocked in your home at all times. You never know when an accident can happen.
• Prevent the temptation of arson by avoiding having flammable materials in open areas such as the back yard or near garages.
• Know emergency phone numbers, such as the Police, Fire Department and local Poison Control Center.
• Keep matches, lighters and burning candles out of the reach of children.
• Check on senior citizens who live alone to make sure they are also living in a safe environment.
For more information about fire prevention and fire safety please visit OSFM’s webpage at www.sfm.illinois.gov