IFD hits unprecedented number of occupied structure fires in single month

(Provided Photo/IFD)
(Provided Photo/IFD)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indianapolis Fire Department hit an unprecedented number of occupied residence fires in a single month. The department says 100 percent of the fires were preventable.

According to IFD, as of Dec. 28, there have been 57 structure fires with only seven of those being vacant or unoccupied. In addition, IFD also assisted nine other fires from surrounding departments.

Despite the high number of fires in December, only three firefighters were slightly injured while battling them.

Chief Ernest Malone says it’s important to remain cautious in order to keep your family safe inside your home.

“Your family’s safety is our primary concern. Proactive steps taken together as a community, will help to ensure a safe winter for everyone,” Malone said.

IFD has provided the following safety tips:

  • Space heaters:
    • Keep a clear 3 foot perimeter around the space heater on all sides.
    • Remove combustibles including clothing, bedding, furniture, & curtains away from all heat sources.
    • Only use an UL approved space heater with automatic shut off and non-frayed cord.
    • Plug the space heater directly into the wall outlet, do not use a power strip or extension cord.
    • Never leave the space heater unattended when in use – heat the room, shut the door and unplug the space heater before going to sleep.
    • Keep pets and children away from all heat sources but especially the space heater as it can cause serious injury.
  • Never use your stove or oven to heat a room.
    • Appliances aren’t intended to be used as heat sources and can be deadly when used improperly.\
  • Do not leave food unattended and cooking on the stove. Especially grease.
    • Grease can be unpredictable and should always be heated slowly with an extinguishment method such as a lid nearby.
  • Please do not use candles to heat your home and when in use, never leave a candle unattended.
    • Candle flame and wicks can be unpredictable, flaring up and catching nearby combustibles such as cabinets, curtains and towels on fire.
    • Never use generators, propane heaters or outdoor heaters inside a residential space.
  • If using a wood burning fireplace, make sure that all embers are extinguished prior to going to bed.
    • Check to see that the flue is open before lighting the fire.
    • Make sure you have a protective screen in place to keep embers in and children away from flame.
  • Residents who knowingly have issues with heat protection should make plans to seek alternate overnight shelter with family or friends.
  • Drive safely and make sure all occupants are wearing seat belts while the car is in motion.
    • Keep children bundled up while driving and all exposed skin covered.
  • Keep any accumulating snow cleared off of and around hydrants so arriving firefighters can see them clearly and access them quickly.
  • Brush, trash and cars should never be placed in front of a hydrant.
  • Be vigilant about your neighborhood and report unusual or suspicious activity in and around vacant or abandoned structures.
    • Unauthorized access by individuals seeking warmth is trespassing and residents should call 911 or the IMPD non-emergent line at 327-3811 and let your district officer know.

In addition, IFD urges homeowners to make sure smoke alarms are working. Each level of your home is expected to have one 10 year sealed battery smoke alarm.

You are encouraged to create an evacuation plan with your family and visitors who may be staying in your home .

If you need a smoke detector you are asked to call 317-327-6093.

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