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Mourad: Fire safety is number one

by Minden Press-Herald

Even with the wet weather and a forecasted wetter than normal summer, Minden Fire Chief Kip Mourad asks the public to be ever mindful if burning.

“If you’re burning leaves inside the city limits, you have to get permission from the fire department,” Mourad said. “It can only be yard leaves or yard limbs.”

To make sure a burn doesn’t get out of control, the fire chief says to rake everything in a pile and be outside while burning. Also, it’s important to keep a source of water close by and keep the ground around the burning area wet. This helps keep the fire from spreading, he says.

“If you don’t have (a water hose), keep a bucket of water and wet the ground around it,” he said. “Usually it’s the vegetation that will catch on fire.”

Another tip he offers is to make sure the wind is very little if at all.

During fireworks season, Mourad says it’s important to use common sense and watch children closely as fireworks are shot.

“Be careful with matches, especially during fireworks season,” he said. “Just be careful with your fireworks and make sure the kids are supervised while doing fireworks.”

Another area to be mindful of includes grilling. With summer about to be here, the temperatures are rising, which means
families and friends are grilling out more.

The National Fire Protection Agency says grilling fires pose a risk for fire and burn injuries. More than 27 percent of home structure fires started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, while 29 percent started on an exterior balcony or open porch.
Only six percent began in the kitchen.

“As friends and families prepare for a fun grilling season together, be sure the grill is working properly and review safety tips,” Lorraine Clark, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA said. “Propane gas hose leaks or breaks were the leading factors contributing to gas grill fires. It’s good practice to check for damage before using the grill for the first time each year, and to clean and check the entire grill regularly.”

When grilling, the NFPA offers the following tips:

Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.

The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.

Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grates and in the trays below.

Never leave your grill unattended.

So far, over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Mourad says they’ve only answered a fire call once, and that was Saturday to a fire alarm. The wetter weather is keeping fires down, and that’s a good thing, he says.

“Be careful,” Mourad said. “Safety is the number one thing.”

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