How to prepare family for unexpected fire

The best option to insure safety during a fire is having working smoke detectors installed in and outside sleeping areas of a residences, says Smithville Fire Chief Dave Cline.

In the event of a fire, it’s best to be prepared through awareness, communication and drilling.

For a leader of a household, it’s important to inform other members of the home of how to act in case of house fire. In addition, each sleeping area and outside of each sleeping area should have a smoke alarm present, said Smithville Area Fire Protection District Chief Dave Cline.

“Smoke alarms are the big thing,” he said. “We’re happy to assist with the installation of smoke alarms to make sure they function properly.”

Cline said practice makes perfect when it comes to preparedness and keeping calm during a fire. Family members should perform drills, especially children, prior to a fire, to practice departure of the house and to determine a meeting place outside of the home.

If a fire were to occur, Cline also stressed, the person who calls 911 should be prepared to share the address with the dispatcher, assuming the call is coming from a cellular device.

“It’s even more important to teach children to be able to give the address so we can get there in a timely manner,” Cline said.

Cline said dispatch can eventually trace an address from a cellphone, but it can take a while, so having the caller able to give the address is best.

“If a call comes from a cellphone, it will give 911 an area because of the cellphone tower it’s connected to, but it won’t be able to pinpoint it. They do have a process where they can pinpoint a phone, but it’s a much slower process because they have to contact the carrier,” said Cline.

If a fire does occur, Cline said certain measures should be taken.

“Everyone should limit the use of extension cords,” Cline said. “If they are used, they need to be appropriate for the load that’s being placed on them. If a fire starts in the oven, the best thing to do is keep the oven closed and turn off the oven, and then call 911. It’ll help to smother it and keep it contained.”

Stove-top fires are common, the chief said.

“The best option there is to cover it, preferably with a lid of some sort,” Cline said. “Don’t use water. Everyone should have a small fire extinguisher available in the kitchen.”

Sports Editor Adam Burns can be reached at or 389-6643.

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