During National Fire Prevention Week attention is focused on promoting fire safety and prevention; however we should practice fire safety all year long. Many potential fire hazards go undetected because people simply do not take steps to fireproof their home.
This year’s theme is: Protect Your Family from Fire
Many bedroom fires are caused by misuse or poor maintenance of electrical devices, careless use of candles, smoking in bed, and children playing with matches and lighters. Most potential hazards can be addressed with a little common sense. For example, be sure to keep flammable items like bedding, clothes and curtains at least three feet away from portable heaters or lit candles, and never smoke in bed. Also, items like appliances or electric blankets should not be operated if they have frayed power cords, and electrical outlets should never be overloaded.
Fire Safety Checklist:
- Install and maintain a working smoke alarm outside of every sleep area and remember to change the battery at least once a year.
- Designate two escape routes from each bedroom and practice them regularly.
- Teach everyone the "Stop, Drop, and Roll" technique in case clothing catches on fire.
- Avoid storing old mattresses in the home or garage.
- Teach kids that matches, lighters and candles are tools, not toys. If you suspect that a child is playing with fire, check under beds and in closets for telltale signs like burned matches. Matches and lighters should be stored in a secure drawer or cabinet.
Safety tips to reduce home fires include:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. Many cooking fires start from “unattended” cooking.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually.
- If you smoke, smoke outside.
- Keep flammable materials away from light bulbs, light fixtures and lamps.
- Use flashlights during power outages, not candles. If you do burn candles indoors, blow them out before leaving the room, and keep them away from things that can burn.
The following tips will help keep your family safe if there is a fire in your home:
- Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home (including the basement).
- Interconnect all smoke alarms in the home so when one sounds, they all sound.
- Test smoke alarms at least monthly and replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond when tested.
- Make sure everyone in your home knows how to respond if the smoke alarm sounds.
- Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible ways out. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.