Fire Prevention Week begins on October 7th, which is a great time to brush up on how to protect ourselves and our families against fires in the home.
Every 169 minutes an American dies from a fire, and every 30 minutes someone is injured from one. While about 85% of fire deaths occurred inside homes, 2,640 Americans died in fires in 2010 from 384,000 house fires.
Here are some tips to prevent fires in the first place, whether they’re electrical, grease-generated, or otherwise ignited:
Electrical fires take the lives of 280 Americans each year. The winter is the most common time for electrical fires, which means now is a great time to safety-proof your house against this. Most of these fires are caused by the misuse of cords, problems with cords, and light fixtures and lamps. Here are some tips to preventing these tragic accidents:
• Check appliances and wires regularly, ensuring none are frayed or worn
• Keep wires away from surfaces that can be subjected to water
• Keep all fabric (clothes and curtains) away from space heaters
• Never overload extension cords or wall-sockets (use power strips if possible)
• Immediately replace light switches that are hot to the touch as well as flickering lights
Cooking is the leading cause of house fires, and grease fires are the most likely to occur in the kitchen. Follow these tips to prevent one from happening in your house:
• Do not leave broiling or frying foods unattended
• Stay in the kitchen when simmering, baking, or roasting foods
• Keep anything that can catch on fire, such as paper towels or dish towels, away from stove
• Finally, if a grease fire ignites on your stovetop, do NOT douse it with water. Cover the pan with a metal lid and evacuate the kitchen
Traditional Fire safety:
Utilize these traditional fire safety tips to ensure a fire does not occur in your household:
• Put candles and lights on heat resistant surfaces
• Replace all bulbs that blow
• Never smoke indoors as it is one of the leading causes of home fires (not to mention the health risks it poses to all exposed)
• Replace real candles with battery operated ones to eliminate open flames in the house
Remember that it is vital to have smoke detectors in your house and to change their batteries and test them regularly – I do this when we change the clocks back in the fall and ahead in the spring, at the very minimum. Having a smoke alarm cuts the chance of dying in a fire in half and more than half of the smoke alarms found in houses with fires were powered only by batteries. Additionally, have an escape route planned with your family complete with a designated outdoor meeting spot as well as fire extinguishers around your house as a final safety precaution.
You also need a way to keep important documents such as birth certificates, social security cards and passports safe. That’s why we are giving away a Fire-Safe HD4100 SentrySafe to one lucky winner. SentrySafe safes offer protection against fire, flood, and theft have really given me the peace of mind that if a fire ever is to strike my home, all of our important documents would be undoubtedly safe.
Like Safety Mom on Facebook or Follow on Twitter and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Sentry Safe Giveaway in the subject line and indicating whether you are Facebook fan (with Facebook name) or Twitter (with Twitter handle). Entries must be received by October 10th 5PM EST.