October 7-13 is National Fire Prevention Week, and Missoula Rural Fire has a bevy of tips and information to help keep your home and family safe this winter.

Battalion Chief Greg Orr said the theme for 2018 is ‘Look, Listen and Learn’.

“Fire can happen anytime and anywhere,” said Orr. “Take a look at your chimney and make sure it’s clean. We’re coming into the cold weather and people will be using their chimneys and fireplaces and make sure they’re clean and safe. For people who use space heaters, make sure they’re turned off and not left unattended. Make sure electrical and extension cords are in good shape and that you’re not using them as a permanent feature for your heating.”

Orr said hardly anyone has enough smoke detectors in their home.

“Smoke alarms need to be in every bedroom and all floors of your house, and you should have one outside the bedrooms in each hallway,” he said. “All new houses are required to have the smoke alarms wired so that when one goes off they all do, and make sure they all work. Test them so that everyone knows what they sound like when they go off.”

Orr said it’s vital that each family has an escape plan in case of a house fire.

“We teach this to the young kids every year and we’re doing it right now in schools,” he said. “Everyone should know how to call 9-1-1. You should have two ways out of your house, through a door or out the window and make sure you have a meeting place to make sure everyone in the house is accounted for.”

Orr said the order should always be people, pets and then things.

“Things can be replaced, but not people,” he said. “I know that pets are an important part of the family, but make sure the children are out of the house first. We all want those pets saved, of course, but not at the expense of a family member.”

Anyone with questions about fire safety in the home is invited to call Missoula Rural Fire at 549-6172 or the Missoula Fire Department at 552-6210.

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