In 2018, over 130 people in the state of North Carolina were casualties of fires.

October is Fire Prevention Month and members of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Fire and Emergency Services want you to know the facts about fire safety. Whether you reside on MCB Camp Lejeune or outside its gates, these helpful tips from MCB Camp Lejeune Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Zurek can keep you and your family safe this month and beyond.

Q. What are some effective ways to prevent electrical fires?

A. Ways to prevent electrical fires are not to overload electrical circuits, do not place items on or over electrical cords, limit use of extension cords and if they are used, ensure they are the correct wire size for what you are planning to use it for.

Q. What are some good practices for preventing fires from cooking?

A. The best way to prevent fires from cooking is not leaving cooking unattended. This is one of the top causes of home cooking fires.

Q. How many fire extinguishers should there be in a household?

A. The number of fire extinguishers will depend on how large a household is and the associated hazards. Fire extinguishers are normally located near the kitchen. They are in an area that will be easy to get to if there was a cooking fire.

Q. How often do you need to check and/or replace your fire extinguisher?

A. Fire extinguishers should be checked monthly. This is to ensure they are properly charged and ready for use. Checking the gauge to ensure that it is in the green, picking the fire extinguisher up, inspecting the nozzle/hose, ensuring that there is a pin keeping the handle from accidently being hit and discharging. If there are any questions, you can contact your local fire department or have the fire extinguisher replaced.

Q. What advice do you give people when it comes to having a fire escape plan?

A. Most people I talk to have a fire escape plan, but when asked if they have practiced it, the answer is generally no. It’s a bad time to find out problems with your escape plan when you have a fire and need to use it. Things such as ensuring windows and doors open easily. Identifying the location of your meeting place or how you or your family will get down from the second floor window if fire is preventing your escape down the stairway.

Q. What are some safe practices to consider when building a fire outdoors, whether it be a small campfire or a large bonfire?

A. When building outdoor camp fires, it is important to ensure you try to separate the fire from any fuel. Wind can also be a factor when it comes to blowing embers away from the fire. This can cause a fire away from the original fire. Keep an extinguisher close by in case the fire does become uncontrollable. Setting large bonfires should be avoided.

Q. What is the best fire safety advice you can give to children?

A. They should have an escape plan at home and go over it with their parents. Once they are finished talking about the fire escape plan, they need to actually have "show and tell" or practice the plan. Also have their parents test the smoke alarm so everyone knows it works and what the smoke alarm sounds like.

Q. What are some common ways fires are started by children?

A. Children are curious and they can come in contact with matches or lighters. These should be stored out of their reach and at some point they will need to have an explanation as to what could happen if they find one of them.