Oct. 9-15 is National Fire Prevention Week. Since you never know when a fire might occur, it’s important to be prepared, and know how to prevent them from happening. The American Red Cross responds to a fire every nine minutes.This week we are sharing ways you can do your part in preventing, and preparing for fires in your home.
Tip 1: Keep a fire extinguisher on every level.It’s important to remember that fire extinguishers are only one element of a complete fire survival plan. Use your extinguisher only to keep a small self-contained fire from growing, only when the room is not filled with smoke, or to create a safe pathway out of the home. Be sure to read the instructions and become familiar with your fire extinguisher’s parts and operations before a fire breaks out.
Tip 2: Keep flammable material 3 feet from heat sources. Keep objects like furniture, bedding and clothing away from radiators and space heaters. Do not leave space heaters on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep. Not only are they fire hazards, they can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Tip 3: Never leave food on the stove unattended. Remember to stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food. If you have to leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove. Also, when you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
Tip 4: Don’t overload electrical outlets. Drawing too much energy from one electrical outlet can cause you to lose electricity or (far worse) start an electrical fire. With that being said, you may also want to consider buying a surge protector to protect expensive equipment (like computers, TVs, and stereos) from electrical surges, which can cause damage. Heavy current appliances such as stoves, hot water heaters, electric dryers, etc. should be on separate circuit breakers or fuses because they draw so much electrical current.
Tip 5: Have an escape plan. Eighty percent of Americans don’t realize that home fires are the single most common disaster across the nation. Therefore, plan your escape and your capabilities. Know at least two exits from every room and make sure your family knows them as well.
Tip 6: Install smoke alarms on every level. Fires can spread very quickly, so every second is important. Smoke alarms can give you extra time to escape a fire by alerting you if there’s a fire somewhere else in your home or apartment building, waking you up if a fire starts while you are asleep, or by detecting a fire before you are even able to see flames or smell smoke.
Tip 7: Store and use matches, lighters, and candles carefully. Be sure to keep matches and lighters away from young children. Store them in a cool, dry place away from heat sources (such as stoves or heaters) that could accidentally ignite them. Don’t light matches or burn candles around flammable objects, and avoid burning candles near an open window or breeze that could spread a fire and never leave candles burning unattended.