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It’s ‘spring cleaning’ time again, JBLM inspector says

Published: 01:02PM September 20th, 2012
It’s ‘spring cleaning’ time again, JBLM inspector says

JBLM Fire Department

Officials gear up for Fire Prevention Week in October 1961 at the old Fort Lewis Fire Department Headquarters building, which is now JBLM Fire Station 7.

With the approach of fall, most people aren’t thinking about spring cleaning.

But that’s just what Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fire and Emergency Services personnel are asking everyone to consider as the cold weather months draw near.

“We want people to be thinking about things like unattended cooking, the clothes dryer working more and more, and even taking a look at your Christmas lights now to make sure they’re serviceable,” fire inspector Edward Chavez said.

The National Fire Protection Association cautions against leaving the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. While simmering, boiling, baking or roasting, check the food regularly and use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.

Additionally, make sure residential smoke detectors are working. On JBLM, housing regulations direct residents to check their smoke detectors monthly. JBLM chief fire inspector Donald Lane advises changing smoke detector batteries twice a year, when daylight saving time begins the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November.

“When you change the clock, change the batteries (in the smoke detector),” Lane said. “We’ll even bring you the batteries, so there really is no reason why anyone shouldn’t have a working smoke detector.”

As kids return to school and there is more laundry to do, Lane urges frequently cleaning dryer filters and exhausts. According to the NFPA, the leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires was failure to clean. Gas grills and lawn mowers often get moved into a garage or shed during winter when they’re not in use, but Chavez warns that they shouldn’t be stored without first being properly cleaned.

“Break down your grill and clean it. Clean your lawn mower and drain it of gasoline,” Chavez said. “But once you do that, don’t take the greasy and oily rags and just ball them up and throw them in a corner, because flammable liquids can have a chemical reaction that give off their own ignition source.”

The National Fire Protection Association recommends disposing of rags or materials that have been soaked in flammable liquids outside in a metal container.

Lane reminds groups or units planning haunted houses for Halloween that they should contact emergency services at 966-7156 to ensure their event is compliant with appropriate fire codes. Blocking access to exits, hanging props from sprinkler systems, covering exit signs or running generators inside buildings are all against current fire regulations.

More information about fire prevention is available during JBLM’s annual fire prevention week from Oct. 7 to 13. The week culminates in a Fire Safety Fair on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the MWR tent behind Bowl Arena Lanes on Lewis Main. Activities include fire safety demonstrations, free food and giveaways. The fair also includes a display of emergency services vehicles.

Individuals or units wishing to volunteer at the Fire Safety Fair should contact Lane at 966-7156.