Chilton firefighters tout fire safety

Published 10:23 pm Monday, October 5, 2009

As winter approaches, area residents should exercise their fire-prevention techniques, an official with the North Chilton Fire Department said during an Oct. 5 seminar.

More than 100 Shelby and Chilton County residents attended the fire department’s first fire prevention clinic in northern Chilton County as Assistant Fire Chief Phillip Rachels Sr. explained how to stay safe while staying warm in the winter.

Though stationed north of Jemison in Chilton County, the North Chilton Fire Department serves parts of southern Shelby County.

“How many of you have changed the battery in your smoke detectors in the last six months?” Rachels asked the crowd. “If your smoke detector isn’t working, it isn’t doing you any good, is it?

“A good rule of thumb is to change your batteries when you set your clocks forward in the spring and back an hour in the winter,” Rachels added. “You should have one smoke detector for every 1,000 square feet in your house.”

In addition to maintaining smoke detectors, the fire official urged those in attendance to maintain carbon monoxide detectors, refrain from entering a house smelling of natural gas, maintain a clean chimney and stove exhaust flume and avoid using kerosene heaters.

“You need to keep a fire extinguisher under your kitchen sink in case you have a grease fire on your stove,” Rachels said. “Whatever you do, don’t put water on a grease fire. It will shoot all over the place.”

Rachels also encouraged the residents to avoid leaving appliances on and unattended, and to always check local burn laws before burning items outdoors.

“This is the first program like this ever held in Chilton County,” Rachels said, shortly after several of the volunteer firefighters left the seminar to respond to a structure fire.

“We just wanted you to see a little of what we do, and take home some important fire-safety tips,” Rachels added.