State Fire Marshal urges South Carolinians to be fire safe during hurricane

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COLUMBIA, SC – With South Carolina in the anticipated path of Hurricane Matthew, State Fire Marshal Bert Polk is urging citizens to be fire safe.

“First, I urge every family to have on hand a basic disaster supply kit,” Polk said. “This includes first aid supplies, a battery operated portable radio, flashlight, and extra batteries. During a hurricane, power outages are anticipated and I want to remind everyone the use of candles and portable generators can pose additional hazards.”

South Carolinians can reduce their risks of becoming a fire casualty by identifying potential hazards and following these safety tips:

Candle Safety
· Use a sturdy candle holder and place on an uncluttered surface.
· Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
· Don’t burn a candle all the way down – put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
· Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
· Never leave a burning candle unattended. Extinguish it upon leaving the room.

Generator Safety
· Operate a generator in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from doors, windows, and vent openings.
· Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
· Place generators so exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors, or other openings.
· Never refuel a generator while it is running. Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling.
· Install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and mounting height.
· Store generator fuel in a properly labeled container. Store the container outside of living areas.
Chief Polk also offers these cooking related fire safety tips:
· Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home or garage, unless specifically designed for use in an enclosed space and provides instructions for safe use in an enclosed area.
· Never burn charcoal inside a home or garage.

Lastly, if there is a fire emergency, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible and remain outdoors. Never return inside a burning building.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Fire Academy make up the Division of Fire and Life Safety, which is a division of the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.