With the virus still rearing its ugly head in our community, the holiday season has become a struggle for all of us. From the fire department perspective, we have faced some additional challenges.

As you all know we respond to medical calls and this means we have more opportunities to interact with the public. Special care is required for all crew members when arriving on scene (depending on the nature of call) in order to do their due diligence to protect not only the patient, but themselves and their crew members from this virus.

Now that the vaccine has arrived in North Dakota, hopefully we can breathe a sigh of relief and begin the transitioning back to normal life. Fire prevention has its own issues with when we are trying to limit contact with the outside world. Whether it is other government departments, nursing homes, schools or general public, the majority of contact has been through virtual meetings, media or reading material.

Luckily, we have the opportunity to share information to the public through the Pioneer.

With the holiday season upon us, and most of us staying home, it is important as ever to talk about fire

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safety in the home.

Here are some important things to consider when at home during this time:

  • Cooking: Never leave cooking/baking unattended. This is the number one cause of fires in the home.
  • Heating: Please have all heating equipment checked by a professional service before operating. All portable heating units should be plugged directly into the outlet with no extension cords. Keep at least a three foot clearance from combustibles. Electric baseboard heaters should not have drapery or any other material laying on top or near them.
  • Smoke Detectors: Have at least one operating smoke detector in your residence. You cannot smell smoke when you sleep and you need this to alert you in case of a fire.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector

If you have any gas appliances, have at least one operating CO detector in an area where you spend most of your time. Carbon monoxide (CO) is slightly lighter than air but disperses throughout with fans and furnaces used in the colder seasons. You cannot smell CO, so it is extremely important to have detector to warn you in case a malfunction presents itself.

Allot of what is mentioned above has been talked about in the past and it seems that some people do not understand or take these guidelines seriously. The fire department responds to many fires during the holiday season. Many of these fires have a direct correlation to what has been mentioned above.

This is the main reason we repeat our holiday safety message, to remind you the importance of staying fire safe.

So from our family to yours, have a fire safe holiday season. 2021 is just around the corner and we are looking forward to a much better year.

Fire Marshal Dell Sprecher