WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Tragedy in Columbus County struck Tuesday as a long-time radio host was killed after his home caught on fire. For the last 27-years, Bobby Pait hosted a daily radio show called Gospel Time. Authorities still have not been able to determine the cause of the fire, but it sparked an interested in the Carolina in the Morning crew to get some fire prevention safety tips.
December, January and February are the biggest months for heat fires. Wilmington Fire Department officials warn that even though a lot of space heaters are now designed with a component that shuts the machine off if knocked over, it's important to remember to not let a space heater run in a separate room for a long time unattended.
"Heaters need a break and need to be cut off—don't let one run over night or for extended periods of time if no one is watching it," said fire educator Meg Langston with the Wilmington Fire Department.
Langston also suggested to keep a 3-foot radius from the heater—children, newspapers and other items are best kept at least 3 feet way from the heat source.
The standard home extinguisher is 5 lbs. Officials added they are only for small fires such as kitchen fires or trash can fires.
"You cannot expect to fight your way through a blazing house fire with an extinguisher," said Langston.
CIM's Lindsay Curtin also learned to use a fire extinguisher for the first time Wednesday, learning a key word "PASS."
PASS stands for the steps one needs to take in order to properly use an extinguisher:
Pull the ring from the side with hard force
Aim hold the apparatus by the silver handle
Squeeze the silver handle
Sweep spray the material in a back and forth sweeping motion aiming toward the base of the fire
Extinguishers are only good for one incident. After one use, it must be refilled.
Kitchen fires are also a significant source of house fires. Tips to remember include not using a wet oven mitt, as it will steam burn your hand. Also, keep a lid nearby when cooking on a stove, so if a small fire breaks out you can smother it quickly. Battalion Chief Sammy Flowers said you don't have to have a gas stove top to be at risk for kitchen fires.
"If you're frying, using oil, the grease inside the pan can ignite—and soon as you know it your wooden cabinets are engulfed in flames. It takes less than a minute for a fire to get out of control."
Watch the video above to learn how to operate an extinguisher.
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