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Fire Safety And Prevention

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 10:06 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Fire Safety, Fire Prevention, Smoke Detectors, Burn Awareness, Fire Hazard

Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned

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IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhoto / smoke detector / author: dehooks

Officials are urging residents to be aware of fire safety. National Fire Prevention Week focuses on burn awareness and prevention as well as keeping homes safe from the leading causes of home fires.

The number one cause of fires is carelessness. That includes things such as leaving burning candles unattended, leaving food cooking on the stove or in the oven unattended and accidents involving smoking.

A Closer Look At Fire Starters

In 2008, fire departments responded to a home fire every 81 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Cigars and cigarettes caused one of four home fire deaths last year.

During the months of December, January and February, heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires.

Also common are electrical fires. Each year, 320 people die in electrial fires, 830 more are are injured and some 24,000 homes are damaged.

Smoke alarms were not present in 40 percent of home fire deaths, according to NFPA. National Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, is a good time to check all smoke detector batteries in the home and ensure they are working.

Many people falsely believe they will be alerted to a fire and wake up because they smell smoke, which is nothing more than a myth. Smoke detectors should be placed on every floor of the house and in every room where people sleep.

Common Sense Fire Safety

The home should be regularly inspected for fire hazards.

Before putting a child into the bath, test the water to ensure it isn’t too hot.

Wearing short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking may prevent devastating burns.

Avoid overloading outlets by plugging in too many appliances which can result in an electrical fire. Also be aware of cracked or frayed cords.

Smother a grease fire – don’t use water on a cooking fire as it will cause the fire to spread. Rather slide a non combustible item over the fire and remove it from the heat. With oven fires, close the door and turn off the oven.

Keep a fire extinguisher in the garage and kitchen. Keep in mind, some fire extinguishers are disposable and others may need to be serviced each year and charged after use.

All grills should be kept at least 10 feet away from any structure. Additionally, never cook in an enclosed space like a garage.

Prepare and practice a safe first and second escape route from your home. Remember, smoke and heat rise, so stay near the floor for the best air. Every family needs a plan. Go over them. Practice them.

Fire safety needs to be a family affair. Children need to understand the dangers of fire. FireSafety.gov offers fire safety discussion points.

Lastly and most importantly, fire grows and spreads rapidly. The number one priority is to get out safely. #


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