WHITMAN -- Chief Timothy Grenno and the Whitman Fire Department would like to share the following safety tips with residents to prevent fires caused by improperly discarded smoking materials.
Over the past few weeks the Whitman Fire Department has responded to outdoor fires that have extended to nearby buildings, causing significant damage. Similar fires have been seen in nearby communities such as Abington, Rockland and Easton.
One of the main causes of such fires is improperly discarded cigarettes or other smoking materials. The Whitman Fire Department is sharing the following tips regarding smoking materials:
- Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes into bushes, mulch or grassy areas that can easily catch fire.
- Throwing cigarettes on the ground is considered littering.
- Fully extinguish cigarettes in an ashtray or a non-combustible container.
- Soak cigarette butts in water before throwing them away.
- If smoking inside, do not place ashtrays on combustible surfaces.
Additionally, residents are reminded to always properly dispose of fireplace ashes when using a fireplace in their home. The following safety tips are courtesy the National Fire Protection Association:
- If possible, allow fireplace ashes and coals to cool in the area of the fire for several days. Chimneys and fire pits are designed to safely contain heat.
- When it is time to dispose of ashes, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down.
- Keep the metal container outdoors and away from combustibles.
- Do not place any other refuse in the can with the ashes.
- Do not use a combustible container to dispose of ashes.
Lastly, residents are reminded to use caution when using an open flame during adverse weather conditions. Weather that can lead to accidental fires include notably dry conditions that are coupled with low humidity and strong winds.
These conditions can often lead to a fire hazard warning from the the National Weather Service. If these conditions are present, residents are reminded to be extra careful with any open flames, to properly dispose of smoking materials and to use extra care with any outdoor cooking fires.
“These types of fires are preventable, and we hope our residents take these warnings seriously and always properly dispose of smoking materials in a safe and responsible manner,” Chief Grenno said.