GETZVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — During National Fire Prevention week, fire departments across the nation are sharing safety tips to help prevent house fires from happening.

A tradition that dates back in 1925, reminding everyone, children, teachers and families on what to do — and what not to do.

“Fire prevention week brings up back to reality to focus on stuff like this, and making sure people do check their smoke alarms, make sure they have a plan to get out of the house, and make sure the the family understands the plan,” said Richard Silvaroli, Chairman of Youth & Fire services of Fireman’s Association of the State of New York, also known as FASNY. “Once that alarm goes off, you don’t know if it’s a false alarm or a real one. Get out of the house and let the fire department investigate it and take care of it because fire is very fast.”

According to Silvaroli, fire prevention is especially important in modern times, because majority of modern furniture is more flammable than in decades prior. He suggests every family should have a fire plan, every household should check their smoke detector monthly–and it helps if you close your bedroom door at night if your home does catch on fire.

“Winter time we do see a load of more fires due to the fact that people start to use fireplaces, burning fires, maybe they didn’t get their furnace checked out and they has issues with that, but we do see a small uptick on fires in the winter time,” said Silvaroli.

“If people were to remain vigilant and follow fire safety protocols and guidelines, the number of fires during the winter would drop dramatically,” said Lt. David Morales, of Getzville Fire Company.

Morales has been a volunteer firefighter in Getzville for 10 years, and he says his team has responded to almost 500 calls last year alone, and that they tend to see a rise in house fires when the temperature starts to drop.

“You kind of see a lot of house fires in the colder months simply to the fact that people are working with a lot of heating devices, and a lot of times open flames and people can get careless,” said Morales. “Flames and fire can be very unpredictable, and you really need to keep an eye on whatever you are using.”

He says while people start to pull out their heating devices, it’s important to inspect them and look for signs of faulty wiring, make sure they’re clean and to give them 3-5ft space and to never use a heating element when you are not home or sleeping.

Some other tips to consider during Fire Prevention week are:

  • Check smoke detectors batteries and Carbon Dioxide detectors
  • Make sure you have at least 2 ways to exit your home
  • Have your Chimneys professionally cleaned every year and inspected every few years
  • Use fireplace cleaning logs
  • Never leave an open flame unattended
  • Close bedroom doors at night
  • Have a fire escape plan and meeting spot for your family

For more tips and tricks on fire safety you can head to FASNY’s website here or Getzville’s Fire Company’s website here.

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Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.