State Fire Commissioner Gives Suggestions on How to Reduce Fires in Time of COVID-19

| April 18, 2020

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner gave some tips on how to reduce the number of calls our fire companies are responding do during the COVID-19 outbreak.

(Photo by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media.www.propointmedia.com)

Trego said that with many volunteer fire departments across the Commonwealth – and approximately 97 percent of all fire departments in Pennsylvania are volunteer-based companies – facing the likely financial crunch brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens can do their part in reducing the number of fires that have to be responded to.

Seasonal fire-safety tips include:

“Remove dead leaves and other flammable debris from around foundations and from under decks, porches or stairs.

  • Outdoor work areas such as garages and tool sheds should be kept organized, and flammable materials should be stored in fire-rated containers away from children.
  • Grills should be checked for rust, insects, spiders, grease and other debris before use.
  • Worn gas hoses should be replaced.
  • Never grill indoors, in a garage, breezeway or carport. Grills should only be used 10 feet away from your house or any building.

Trego also said there are tips to avoid fires with so many individuals working from home as well including:

  • If you need to run extension cords for office equipment or laptops, do so safely. Do not overload outlets, and do not run cords under carpets, sofas, or through high traffic areas. If a cord is frayed or cracked, discard it.
  • Unplug computers, phones, printers, coffee pots, when finished.
  • Avoid working out of your kitchen, cooking during work hours or during conference calls.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of house fires in the United States, and distractions are a leading cause of these incidents.
  • If unwinding with candles after a long day, consider using flameless candles.
  • Take the time to test your smoke alarms and plan/practice your escape.

“Lastly, I know that as we spend more of our time at home now, it might be tempting to want to take on a “do it yourself” home improvement project,” Trego said. “Please understand that DIY projects often lead to injuries with a call to the fire department for emergency medical services. If you must take on a DIY project, please use the proper protective equipment for the task at hand.”

Trego said by working together and limiting our use of the services our volunteer fire departments provide, we will get through this public health crisis.

According to Trego, the Small Business Association/federal government have several financial incentive programs that extend to volunteer departments.

“While the Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner and State Fire Academy facilities are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our staff continues to work hard to ensure the impact of this crisis is minimal,” Trego said. “We are doing our best to provide continued customer service during this time.”


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