IFD shares tips to keep you safe this holiday season

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Indianapolis fire fighters were busy Saturday and Sunday, responding to over 397 fire and EMS calls in freezing temperatures. Seven of those were working structure fires, with one of them being fatal.

Here are some tips IFD shared with FOX59 to make sure you and your loved ones are safe this season:

1.  Check your smoke detectors. Are they working?  Change your battery and make sure you have one per floor.  If it activates, don’t ignore it. Evacuate and call 911. None of today’s fires had working smoke detectors. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector?  These items can be purchased at any hardware store relatively inexpensively and in a combination unit.

2. Talk to your family members and create a family evacuation plan today.   Know two ways out of every room and have a meeting place outside the residence where everyone knows to go.  Firefighters spent an inordinate amount of time searching for unaccounted residents in two of the fires today.  Occupants were unable to locate or remember how many people were in the residence and kept changing the number.  Once you are able to confirm the whereabouts of family or friends, let the firefighters on scene know. This includes any pets that may be in the home.

3.  If you smell something odd in your home such as possible fire or gas…don’t wait to evacuate.  Get out and call 911. Allow the fire department to investigate. Your family’s safety is important to us.

4.  Do you see unusual activity in your neighborhood?  Call your local District IMPD office and report it. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS or text INDYCS plus tip information to 274627 (CRIMES).  Vacant and Unoccupied can be dangerous places for anyone to seek shelter without prior approval.  Children should never be allowed to play near or in a vacant structure.  The interior condition of the structure is often times unattended and it is not uncommon to have broken glass, large holes in the floors and unsafe stairwells. Additionally, ARSON is a crime and intentionally setting any fire is never acceptable.  Don’t hesitate to report suspicious activity or information.

5.  When firefighters arrive on scene and begin to lay hose lines, please change your direction of travel and leave the area.  Do not drive over hose lines.  By doing so you are putting firefighter’s lives at even further risk by potentially cutting off their water supply to attack the fire.  Your actions delay firefighter’s ability to work quickly as they must address your bad judgment.  The fire today at 30th and Clifton was a prime example of this.  No one appreciates your patience and cooperation more than your first responders, but firefighters were scrambling to place apparatus and lay hose lines as drivers drove right over their supply lines.  Huge flames and heavy smoke were blowing across the street and cars were trying to drive past it.   IMPD officers do their best to divert the flow of traffic as quickly as they can but are not dispatched to a fire at the same time as the fire crews.  Drivers please be considerate and use common sense.

6.  When was the last time you had your dryer, furnace, fireplace or water heater checked? Make an appointment today.  Keep those items serviced and in the event of something malfunctioning, evacuate and call 911.  The residents on Penway did just that.   Never ever use appliances such as a stove to heat your home…such as was reported today on the Ewing Fire.  This is not safe and can be deadly.  If you choose to use a space heater, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep a 3 foot perimeter away from combustibles such as clothing, furniture and curtains.  Do not use candles to heat your home and never leave them unattended. Don’t burn things in your fireplace that aren’t intended to be burned indoors.

7.  We again remind you to never leave food unattended while cooking.  Grease on the stove can rapidly catch fire and get out of control.  The fatality on Groff Ave. this morning is a tragic reminder of just how quickly this can happen and how little time there is to evacuate.  Always heat grease slowly and keep a method of extinguishment nearby such as a lid or fire extinguisher.

8.  If you suspect that your child has been using combustible items such as cigarettes, please address it before it becomes deadly.  The Indianapolis Fire Department has a juvenile fire setters program that can help you explain the dangers of smoking as it pertains to a child.  Attempts to hide a discarded cigarette can be deadly and at the very minimum cause significant damage to your home as seen in the Ewing Street fire.  For more information contact 317-327-3473 (FIRE).   Falling asleep while smoking is a leading cause of death for adults.