Winter fires preventable with safety tips

By Jacqueline Evans

The DeKalb Fire Department released winter fire safety tips for the home on Jan. 21.

According to the release, 82 percent of all fire deaths occur in the home and deaths caused by winter fires are particularly preventable.

The release suggests installing smoke alarms on every level of the home as well as making sure space heaters have an emergency shut-off in case they tip over. The release also warns residences to never thaw frozen pipes with a blow torch or other open flame.

DeKalb Assistant Fire Chief Scott Love said winter fires can occur because of various heating practices.

“Many fires occur because people are finding different ways to heat their homes, which if not done properly, can lead to fires,” Love said.

Love said there were two fires in the city of DeKalb last semester.

“Most people in DeKalb are very conscious of fire safety,” he said.

Some NIU students who live off campus say they are especially careful about fire safety in the winter.


“Living off campus requires me to be way more responsible about [fire safety],” said Lucretia Thomas, senior health administration major. “I try to always make sure I don’t leave the stove on and turn space heaters off when I leave my apartment.”

Fire prevention in the winter is also a priority to NIU.


“We have an increased use of space heaters in administrative campus buildings,” said Scott Mooberry, safety officer for Environmental Health and Safety. “We have strict guidelines for safe use of space heaters and have strictly prohibited [space heaters] in the residence halls.”

According to NIU’s 2011 Fire Log Summary, there have been five fires in the residence halls since January 2010 which caused $600 or less in damages.

NIU also releases a Campus Fire Safety Annual Compliance Report, which is intended to inform current and prospective students and employees of the fire safety programs and policies in place at NIU, and the institution’s state of readiness to detect and respond appropriately to fire-related emergencies.