With two fires taking place during Fire Prevention Week, Alliance Volunteer Fire Department Chief Troy Shoemaker is urging people to be prepared for fires and to take steps to prevent them from happening.

“I can’t remember the last time during Fire Prevention Week where we ran two fires,” said Shoemaker. “It certainly wasn’t how we wanted Fire Prevention Week to go, and it certainly wasn’t the note we wanted to end it on.”

One of the most important things people can do to stay safe, Shoemaker explained is to make sure they have working smoke detectors.

“One of the things people can do to make sure that they are safe is to make sure that they have operating smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors,” Shoemaker said. “If people still have the smoke detectors that take the nine-volt battery, change those every six months.”

Shoemaker said some modern smoke detectors have batteries sealed into them that can last for 10 years. He said any smoke detector that is older than 10 years needs to be replaced.

“You want to make sure that you have operating smoke detectors on every level of the home and in every sleeping room of the home,” said Shoemaker.

Shoemaker also advised people to not store combustible items near sources of heat. He noted that space heaters and alternative heat sources can pose a fire hazard if they are not used properly.

“You want to make sure to plug those directly into an outlet and not into a power strip or an extension cord,” Shoemaker said. “Those kinds of heating sources like space, so you want clear space around them for at least three feet. You don’t want them near couches, recliners, drapes or curtains. I know there are people who get cold at work and like to put them under their desks, but they still require the same amount of space.”

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