Top 5 Home Fire Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Week
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Beep! Waking up to a smoke detector can be a terrifying experience, as my next-door neighbor Jolene recently learned. After lighting a candle on her windowsill, Jolene fell asleep before blowing it out. She awoke 30 minutes later to a room filled with flames. Wind coming through the open window had blown the draperies right into the candle’s flame. Thanks to her bedroom’s smoke detector, Jolene escaped unscathed, although her house sustained substantial damage.
In its report “Fire Loss in theUnited StatesDuring 2011,” the National Fire Protection Association reported that residential fires, like the one caused by Jolene’s forgotten candle, killed an estimated 2,550 civilians and injured 14,360 civilians. Many of these fires occur during the hectic holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. It’s easy to get caught up in chaotic holiday preparations and overlook potential fire hazards, like turkey fryers and space heaters.
This year, don’t let your family’s celebration go up in smoke. Get a jump-start on the holidays with home fire protection during Fire Prevention Week. Follow these home fire safety tips to keep your family safe.
No. 1: Cook with caution.
Nearly half of all home fires are cooking-related, says the National Fire Protection Association. Keep a fire extinguisher ready to battle open flames on the stove or splattered cooking oil. The extinguisher should be rated for both grease and electrical fires. To use it, remember the acronym P.A.S.S.: Pull the pin. Aim the nozzle at the fire’s base. Squeeze the nozzle to spray. Sweep back and forth while spraying the fire’s base.
No. 2: Never leave space heaters unattended.
Heating systems, especially space heaters and wooden stoves, can easily ignite nearby household items. Keep all space heaters at least three feet from household items. Turn heaters off before leaving a room or going to sleep. Never leave pets or children unsupervised with a space heater or wooden stove; in addition to the risk of starting a fire, heaters and stoves pose a danger of burns, as well.
No. 3: Check your electrical cords.
Faulty, cracked or deteriorating electrical cords can shoot sparks onto flammable surfaces – like your family’s Christmas tree – and quickly start a fire. Check all your electrical cords for fraying or other signs of wear. Do not overload circuits; use a power strip instead.
No. 4: Replace open-flame candles with LED tea lights.
With flammable holiday decorations covering tabletops and mantles, lighting real candles can be an invitation to disaster. Instead, choose battery-operated candles, like LED tea lights. They flicker just like the real thing and are an important part of home fire protection. Just ask my neighbor Jolene!
No. 5: Test your smoke detectors.
Jolene’s smoke detector saved her from suffering serious burns or even dying. Stay safe by installing a smoke detector on every floor in your house. If possible, each bedroom should also have its own detector for added home fire protection. Replace the batteries twice per year and practice family fire drills.
What rules do you follow to prevent home fires?
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