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by Abigail Van Buren

Good-Neighbor Policy Is Leaving Each Other Alone

DEAR ABBY: A letter you published recently reminded everyone not to store a fire extinguisher above the stove. In the event of a fire, you might not be able to reach the fire extinguisher. Having experienced a car fire at our home a few weeks ago, we learned a few more fire-safety tips the hard way.

Place a smoke detector in your garage. Car fires can start after the engine has been turned off, and since most of us keep flammables like paint and paint remover in the garage, a smoke detector located near these items can save lives and property.

Small fire extinguishers that can be easily lifted and used are great, but you probably need several located throughout your home. Don't store them in the most likely place for fires to break out, i.e. above the stove, in the water-heater closet or near the furnace.

In our case, we were able to reach our extinguisher and nearly had the car fire under control when our lone extinguisher ran out. If we'd had even one more, the fire could have easily been controlled before the fire department arrived. -- DEBI MEANS, PLANO, TEXAS

DEAR DEBI MEANS: Good advice. Readers -- are you listening? (I hope so.)