Be Alert and Help Prevent Home FiresBy Home Security Source Oct 12, 2009 | 2:55:00 pmPosted in: Family, Fire Prevention, Home
This is the time of year many of us start using the fireplace and plug in a space heater – two of the most common causes of home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 2,755 Americans died in home fires in 2008. That’s nearly eight deaths each day.
Those are scary numbers, but remember, most home fires are preventable. With that in mind, here are a few fire safety tips that can help you to protect your home and family.
Most fire deaths and injuries are the result of smoke inhalation. So make sure you have smoke detectors on every level of your home and outside of each sleeping area. If you already have a monitored home alarm system, you might want to consider asking your provider to add smoke alarms for you. With 24-hour alarm monitoring, your home security company can report a fire even when you’re away from home.
Be sure to have fire extinguishers mounted in your kitchen, garage and workshop. Most fires begin small and by acting quickly you may stop them before they cause significant damage or injury. But be sure you choose ABC-rated extinguishers that are designed for fires involving trash, wood and paper, liquids, gases and electrical equipment. If the fire is large, leave immediately and call 911 from another location.
Make sure your fireplace has a screen on it to prevent embers from flying onto other logs, carpets, drapes and furniture. It’s also a good idea to have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually as fires can start there as well.
Space heaters can be one of the most dangerous appliances in the home. Be careful to keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that might burn and use them only when an adult is in the room.
Never smoke in bed, when sleepy and always wet ashes and butts before dumping them into the trash. Improperly discarded cigarettes are the leading cause of fire deaths in the U.S.
In the kitchen, wear short or tight-fitting sleeves while cooking. If you experience a grease fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and then turn off the burner. Don’t overload electrical sockets with appliances.
Carefully monitor your appliances. Any appliance that smokes or has an unusual odor should be immediately unplugged and taken for repair or replacement. Also repair any frayed or cracked electrical cords.
Children and pets can often be the cause of fires. Be sure they are kept away from open flames, matches, lighters and flammable liquids, as well as space heaters and fireplaces.
In as little as a minute a fire can engulf a house. In case of a fire, you and your family must get out fast. Make an evacuation plan and then spend time practicing it. Identify two exits from each room as well as a place outdoors where the family can meet for a head count.
By following these safety tips you can improve your chances of preventing or escaping from a home fire. For even more information on fire prevention and home safety, visit the U.S. Fire Administration.
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