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Illinois State Fire Marshal wants you to have a Fire Free Fall
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By Member Ed St. Louis
October 2, 2018

(Springfield) - Fall is officially here and so are cooler temperatures. The Office of the State Fire Marshal is offering a few tips that will help Illinoisans stay safe as temperatures continue to drop.

“With cooler weather comes increased fire risk and we want everyone to stay safe and fire free this fall,” said Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “It is important that people stay alert for potential fire hazards and practice fire safety while enjoying the cooler weather.”

This Fall, be sure to remove leaves and debris such as sticks, branches and shrubs from the roofs and gutters of homes as they act as fuel to a fire. These items should also be cleared before lighting a bonfire. It is recommended that all recreational fires, such as bonfires, be contained in a pit, with sidewalls, and do not exceed 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall.

Avoid burning leaves and debris on windy days, as wind can cause a fire to get out of control quickly. Always follow your local ordinances when burning and disposing of yard waste and remember, embers from burning leaves can spread and start a larger fire. All fires are recommended to be a minimum of 15 feet from structures and combustible materials and should remain attended at all times. This helps ensure the fire is controlled and prevents it from spreading.

Make sure all Fall and holiday decorations are flame retardant and use a battery light instead of a candle in jack o' lanterns.

Anyone opting to use a space heater to keep warm should be sure it is placed at least three feet away from other objects, such as curtains, and always be sure to unplug it when it’s not in use. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) space heaters account, annually, for 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires.

All fireplaces should be cleaned and inspected before use to ensure everything is in proper working order. Utilize a fireplace screen to keep sparks from floating out of a fireplace and always put out a fire before going to bed or leaving the house.

Additional fire safety tips can be found on the NFPA website or on the Office of the State Fire Marshal website.

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