October is Fire Prevention Month - 10 Home Fire Safety Tips
TheU.S. Fire Administrationreports that fires kill more than
4,000 Americans each year and approximately injure 20,000 more. U.S. fire
departments respond to nearly 2 million fires each year, with three-quarters of
them occurring in residences.
A home is often referred to as a safe
haven. This month, make sure your home is protected from (and your family
is prepared for) a fire. Here are 10 simple tips to help you avoid fires
and reduce the risk of injury should one occur:
1) Smoke Alarms– These are still a very important
addition to your home. Smoke alarms are widely available and
inexpensive. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test
Electrical Fires –Don’t
overload circuits or extension cords. Cords and wires should never be
placed under rugs or in high traffic areas. Avoid loose electrical
connections by checking the fit of the plug in the wall outlet. If the
plug loosely fits, inspect the outlet right away. A poor connection
between the plug and the outlet can cause overheating and can start a fire in
3) Keep Plugs
Safe –Unplug all
appliances when not in use. Follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions
and use your senses to spot any potential disasters. If a plug is
overheating, smells strange, shorts out or sparks – the appliance should be
shut off immediately, then replaced or repaired.
sure there is ample space around any portable heating unit. Anything that
could catch fire should be at least three feet away. Inspect your chimney
annually and use fire screens to help keep any fires in the fireplace.
5) Fire Safety
combined with working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers greatly increase your
chance of surviving a fire. Sprinklers are affordable and they can
increase property value and lower insurance rates.
6) Create An
Escape Route –Create
and practice your escape plan with your family from every room in the
house. Practice staying low to the floor and checking for hot doors using
the back of your hand. It’s just like a routine school fire drill – but
in your home.
Appliances Carefully –Try
to keep TV sets, kitchen and other appliances away from windows with
curtains. If there is a wiring problem, curtains can spread a fire
quickly. Additionally, keeping your appliances away from water sources
(like rain coming in from windows) can help prevent wiring damage which can
lead to a fire.
8) Clean Dryer
dryers often start fires in residential areas. Clean the lint filter
every time you start a load of clothes to dry or after the drying cycle is
complete. Make sure your exhaust duct is made of metal tubing and not
plastic or foil. Clean the exhaust duct with a good quality dryer vent
brush to prevent blockage & check for lint build up behind the dryer at
least twice a year.
9) Be Careful
Around the Holidays –If
you fill your home with lights during the holiday season, keep them away from
anything that can easily catch fire. Check all of your lights prior to
stringing them up and dispose of anything with frayed or exposed wires.
Regular Inspections –Check
all of your electronic equipment and wiring at least once a month. Taking
a little time to do this each month can really pay off.
Following these simple tips could potentially
save your life or the life of a loved one. Pass this list on to your
friends and family and make this fire prevention month count!