Springfield mother spreads fire safety awareness after losing home

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - Summer is heating up, which means more cookouts and campfires, but it's important to make sure you're taking the proper safety precautions during your favorite summer pastimes.

One local mother, Suntina Heard, has made fire safety education her mission. She lost everything when her Rogersville home burned down five years ago. While the cause of the fire is still unknown, the pain is present for the family everyday as they continue their new life in Springfield. "All of our stuff we loved blew up in flames," explained Suntina's daughter, Charity.

That feeling of hopelessness is why the family wanted to help others be aware of possible fire dangers in and outside of the home. "There is always extra precautions you can take," said Heard. "Please be careful."

With summer in full swing, she wants others to take fire safety seriously. "Don't let younger kids around the flames, check your outlets, don't leave extension cords plugged in," she said. She also asked people to use an extra-long extender or lighter when grilling.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) rates July as having the highest number of grill related fires. To avoid these type of fires, keep grills away from your home. The NFPA also reminded people to extinguish all outdoor fire pits and campfires accurately.

Below is a list from the NFPA of different ways to enjoy summertime traditions safely:
Keep kids and pets away from the grill: It's important that when you're out barbecuing to make sure kids aren't getting to close to the grills.
Clean your grill regularly: Get into the habit of regularly cleaning your grill after using it. You want to avoid grease build-up which can cause a fire.
Keep grill away from the home: Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should be used outdoors only. Keep a reasonable distance between your grill and the decks or side of your home.
Keep campfires a safe distant away: Campfires should be away from the house and your tent. It's important people also know how to properly put them out.

Heard's plea to families, friends, and strangers is simple. "Things can happen in a matter of seconds that can change your whole life forever."