Fighting a fire is hot under any condition, but it is a bit tougher when the temperature and the humidity are high. There have...

Fighting a fire is hot under any condition, but it is a bit tougher when the temperature and the humidity are high. There have been many single-family dwelling fires in the region over the last few weeks. Of all the fires that have occurred, I only know the cause of one. I think that there are enough commonalities with every fire that I will talk about these fires, even though I have limited information.

One fire that I read about was caused by a problem with a dryer. Dryer fires occur when the dryer is overloaded, the dryer vent gets clogged or an electrical or gas breakdown occurs. Dryers are like any other appliance, if it is not working properly, then get it fixed or replace it. It is important to check the lint screen regularly and to also ensure that the dryer vent is always clear.

Another cause that continues to account for 27 percent of fires is a cooking-related fire. Unattended cooking fires that extend to cabinets happen numerous times a day nationwide. As I have said many times, when the probability of a fire increases exponentially it becomes if vs. when a fire occurs. Our focus in prevention has to center on the kitchen.

When the temperature is up, there is a greater possibility of electrical malfunctions. Couple a high temperature with an overheated electrical component, and there is plenty of heat to cause a fire. Electrical issues are difficult to see unless something is not working properly. When you know that there is an electrical malfunction, you must get it fixed. If you work on something electrical, make sure that you unplug or de-energize the circuit.

Pets are dependent on people to get them out. In one of the recent fires, a dog was rescued and revived by firefighters. Your home escape plan must include who will get your pets. You will most likely do what you practice.

When a person dies in a fire, you must ask why. Was there an adequate number of properly located and properly operating smoke alarms? Was the person dealing with some type of handicap or anything that limited mobility? Did the person re-enter the house after initially getting out safely? What prevents a person from getting out of the house?

Fires can be prevented, but each of us must be intentional about preventing them. Along with taking preventative measures, we must put smoke alarms and sprinklers in place.

As always, a practiced home escape plan, which includes two ways out of every room, is the best way to ensure that you and your family will get out if a fire occurs.