Fire threats increase in winter months

BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
01/14/2011 06:51 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Tahlequah firefighter Josh Brinkley shows how to maintain a smokedetector by changing the battery and checking to make sure it works properly.JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the winter months mean increased fire possibilities in people’s homes. Nationally, December is the highest month for residential building fires, with January, February and March following.

Aaron Garrett, Tahlequah Fire Department captain, said winter is when his department begins receiving calls from people complaining of smelling smoke.

“This season usually we start looking at the ‘I smell smoke’…you know, from people just turning the heaters on,” he said.

He added that contrary to national figures, Tahlequah sees most of its house fires in January and February. Generally, house fires follow a cold snap lasting 10 to 14 days in January or February, such as the recent years’ ice storms, Garrett said.

“When we have a cold snap that lasts 10 to 14 days or longer, people start looking for alternative ways of heating their house,” he said. “You start adding on the space heaters and start worrying about other things and neglect space heaters, or starting to try and stretch space heaters with extension cord or something like that. That’s usually when we run into issues of fires associated with the season.”

Garrett said it’s important for people to maintain their heating sources. Space heaters are the most common problems the TFD sees, as well as flue fires. He said many people neglect to maintain their flues each year, which poses problems in the winter months.

“You think about it probably once. ‘Ah, I need to clean that out,’ and then it gets cold and you get busy and people forget about it,” he said. “If you don’t know how to do it, you know it’s going to cost you some money, and I know this time with the economy the way it is, that’s difficult for people to deal with. Some people are concerned with eating let alone heating their homes.”

A suggestion Garret gives for preparing for the winter months includes not overloading circuits in the home.

“We have a tendency of exceeding that (the circuits), but we haven’t had a whole lot of issues (in Tahlequah),” he said. “When we use a surge protector it gives us the tendency of ‘oh I can plug six things in this at once and turn them all on at the same time.’ And that is not the case. A surge protector is made, of course, so you can plug six things in and not have to unplug something to plug something else in.”
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᎠᏥᎳ ᎤᎪᏙ ᏗᎬᏩᏥᎵᏍᏗ ᎪᎳ ᎢᏗᏝ

By JAMI CUSTER
ᏗᎦᏃᏣᎵᏍᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎻ. — ᏚᎾᏙᎵᏤᎲ Ꮎ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᎠᏥᎳ ᏗᏅᏝᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏁᏥᏙ, ᎪᎳ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎪᏙᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᏗᎬᏩᏥᏠᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏴᏫ ᏓᏂᏁᎳᏩᏗᏒᎢ. ᏂᎬᎾᏛ. ᎥᏍᎩᏱ ᎧᎸ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏴᏫ ᏚᏁᏅᏒ ᏧᏥᎵᏍᏗ, ᎤᏃᎸᏔᏂᏃ ᎾᏍᏊ, ᎧᎦᎵ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏅᏱ ᏓᏍᏓᏩᎶᎦ.

Aaron Garrett, ᏓᎵᏆ ᎠᏥᎳ ᏗᏅᏝᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢ ᎠᏍᎦᏰᎬᏍᏗ, ᎪᎳ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎪ ᏴᏫ ᏧᎾᏟᏃᎮᏗ ᏙᏗᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎦᏒᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏩᏒᎬᎢ.
“ᎯᎠ ᏓᏓᏁᏟᏴᏎᎬ ᏃᏊ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎪ ᎯᎠ ᎾᏂᏪᏍᎬ ‘ᏧᎦᏒᏍᏗ ᎠᎩᏩᏒᎩ’…… ᏣᏅᏓᏛ, ᏂᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅ ᏴᏫ ᏓᏂᏍᏚᎢᏍᎪ ᏗᎦᎾᏩᎯᏍᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

ᎤᏁᏉᎥ ᎾᎿ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎪᎵᏰᎢᏙᎸ, ᏓᎵᏆ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏓᎪᏩᏗᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᏓᏥᎵᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏃᎸᏔᏂ ᎠᎴ ᎧᎦᎵ ᏕᎧᎸᎢ. ᎤᎪᏛ ᎨᏒ, ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᏱᏚᏥᎸᏥ ᎣᏂ ᎠᏱᎵᏐ ᎤᏴᏝ ᏂᏕᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᏍᎪᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏚ ᎢᎸᏢ ᏧᏙᏓᏆᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏃᎸᏔᎾ ᎧᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎧᎦᎵ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎶᏒ ᏥᏚᏁᏍᏓᎳᏛ ᎾᏍᎩᏯᎢ, ᎤᏛᏅ Garrett.

“ᎤᏴᏝ ᏱᏄᎵᏍᏔᎾ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎪᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏚ ᏧᏙᏓᏆᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏯᎪᎯᎳ, ᏴᏫ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎪ ᎤᏂᏲᎲ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎦᎾᏬᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᏓᏂᏁᎸᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ. “ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎪ ᏚᏂᏩᏍᎬ ᏗᎦᎾᏪᎯᏍᏗ ᏃᏊᎴ ᏱᏚᏂᏍᏚᎢᏌ ᎤᏅᎨᏫᏍᎪ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏫᎾᎾᏛᏁᎰ ᎤᏅᎨᏫᏒ ᎢᎨᏐ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏍᏚᎢᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎦᎾᏬᎯᏍᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏧᏯᏅ ᎠᎾᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᏕᎫᏓᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏓᏁᏍᏔᏅ ᎢᎨᏐ ᏕᎫᏓᎸᏛ ᏗᎦᎾᏬᎯᏍᏗᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏱᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎳ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏓᎴᏂᏍᎪ ᎠᏥᎳ ᎠᏙᏛᏍᎪᎢ.”

Garrett ᎤᏛᏅ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏴᏫ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏧᎾᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏂᎦᎾᏬᎯᏍᏗᎢ. ᏧᏍᏗ ᏗᎦᎾᏬᎯᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏭᎪᏛ ᏗᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ TFD ᎠᏂᎪᏩᏗᏍᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᎴᏍᏊ Ꮎ ᎣᏏ ᏓᎱᏣᏬᎳᏛ. ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᏅᎨᏫᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏁᎳᎩ ᎠᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᏧᏂᏅᎦᎸᏗ ᏓᎱᏣᏬᎳᏛ ᎪᎳᏗᏝ ᏱᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎯᏗ ᏓᏓᏪᎳᎩᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ.

“ᏱᎭᏓᏅᏖᎵ ᏣᏅᎦᎸᏗ, ᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᎩᏅᎦᎸᏗ ᏱᎮᎵ,’ ᎠᎴ ᏃᏊ ᎤᏴᏜ ᏯᏱᎢᎶᎦ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎢᏓᏛᏁᎲ ᏫᎬᎨᏫᏐ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ ᏂᎤᏍᏙᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ. “ ᎢᏳᏃ ᏂᏣᏅᏛᎾ ᏱᎩ ᎢᏗᏨᏗ ᏗᏣᏅᎦᎸᏗ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᎥ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏣᎵᏌᎳᏗ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ , ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᎢᎠᏍᏓᏲ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗᎢ. ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ ᎤᏟ ᏱᎾᏂᏰᎸᎾ ᎾᏃ ᎤᎦᎾᏩ ᎢᏳᏅᏁᏗ ᏚᏁᏅᏒᎢ.”

ᎧᏁᎬᏃ ᎾᎿ Garret ᎤᎾᏓᏅᏖᏙᏗ ᏓᏁᎰ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎦᎾᏩ ᎢᏧᏅᏛ ᏚᏁᏅᏒ ᏝᏃ Ꮎ ᎤᎪᏗ ᎠᎾᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᎫᏓᎸᏗ ᏌᏊ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎫᏓᎸᏗᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏤᏅᏒᎢ.

“ᏙᎯᏳᏃ ᏫᎬᏩᎶᏒᏍᏔᏅ ᏙᏚᏓᎸᎪ ᎾᎿ ᏌᏊ ᎠᎾᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎫᏓᎸᏗ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ, ᏝᏃ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏣᏍᏈᏍᏗ ᏱᎦ ᎾᎿ (ᏓᎵᏆ),” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ. “ ᎢᏳᏃ ᏱᎬᏔᏂ ᎾᎿ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎯᎢᏃ ᏂᏕᎵᏍᎪ ᎡᎵᏊᏛᏃ ᎨᎵᏍᎬ ᎢᎦ ᏱᏕᎫᏓᎸᎥᎦ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏱᏕᎦᏂᎩᏍᏗ.’ ᏝᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏄᏍᏓ. ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏍᏕᎵᏍᎦ ᏱᎬᏔᏂ ᎦᏌᎧᎯᎨ ᏂᎬᏁᎰ ᎠᏎᏃ Ꮭ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏱᏗᎦᎭᏂᎩᏍᏗ.”
 
jami-custer@cherokee.org (918) 453-5560
 

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