State fire marshal issues home safety tips ahead of scorching weekend

As brutal heat approaches Massachusetts this weekend, with highs of around 90 degrees expected, the state’s fire marshal reminds residents that air conditioners and other tools for keeping cool can be fire hazards. fire, and he asks everyone to be careful.

Air conditioners and other major appliances should be plugged into wall outlets rather than extension cords, which can start a fire, Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said in a statement Friday. Electrical fires are the second leading cause of fire deaths and the third most common type of home fire in Massachusetts, he said.

“We are looking at a hot and humid weekend, and many people will pull out their air conditioners or go to the store to buy them,” Ostroskey said in the statement. “Like all major appliances, these devices must be plugged directly into a wall outlet. They can overload a power strip or extension cord and cause a fire.

Ostroskey added that residents should avoid overloading outlets, use extension cords only for temporary purposes, use only one of the devices plugged into a power strip at a time, and periodically check electrical cords for leaks. damage.

He said laptops, phones and other electronics should be charged on sturdy, stable surfaces rather than beds or sofas, and owners should call a licensed electrician to fix flickering lights; abnormally hot sockets, cords or switches; fuses that blow frequently; or circuit breakers that trip frequently.

Anyone who smells a burning smell, hears a sizzle or buzz, or sees sparks should call their local fire department, Ostroskey said.

“No matter the weather, every household should have working smoke alarms on every floor and a proven home escape plan that represents two exits,” Ostroskey said. “A house fire can become deadly in less than three minutes.”

Jeremy C. Fox can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.

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