As the pro baseball season ends, the Red Cross is encouraging Iowans to take steps to “strike out” the risk of home fires as part of Fire Prevention Week. Marvin Shultz is the emergency services director for the Central Iowa chapter of the Red Cross. Shultz says the message of fire prevention needs to be an ongoing process — targeting people year-round, especially children and the elderly. He says to start by meeting with family or roommates to determine the best ways to get out of the various rooms if fire ever breaks out. There should also be a pre-determined meeting place. Cooking, heating and electrical fires account for half of all home fires and about one-third of the deaths. Now that it’s getting cold, he says space heaters should be kept at least three feet away from walls, furniture and anything that can burn. Other tips include: use screens over fireplaces. Don’t use frayed or damaged extension cords. Cover electrical outlets, if there are kids around. Schultz says when we set our clocks back in a few weeks, it’ll be time to check the batteries in the smoke detectors. He says there should be at least one of the devices on every level of your home.
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