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Household Fire Prevention Tips

In celebration of National Fire Prevention Week, here are some very important Household Fire Prevention Tips from the National Fire Protection Assocation.

  • All homes should have at least two House on Firefunctional ABC type fire extinguishers; one in the kitchen and one in the garage. ABC type can be used on all types of fires.
  • With energy costs rising, remember to use caution if you decide to use supplemental heating devices.
  • Install smoke detectors in each level of the home, in each bedroom and within 15 feet of each bedroom door, in the hall.  Test smoke detectors regularly and keep them clean and free of cobwebs. Replace any detector older than 10 years and change batteries every year (we recommend twice a year--it's great to do it when you change your clocks during daylight savings). Set an easy to remember date, and make it a family habit.
  • Take extra care in the kitchen. Over 50 percent of all fires originate in the kitchen. Do not disable smoke detectors while cooking. Be particularly careful when cooking with oil and with gas appliances with an open flame.
  • Do not overload electrical circuits, sockets, extension cords or power "strips". They can easily overheat. Also, inspect cords periodically for signs of overheating and cracking. Do not use any cord (or appliance with a cord) that is damaged in any way.
  • Never leave lit candles or oil lamps unattended. Make sure they are secure in their holders.They should be placed on surfaces that do not burn, and away from any materials that could burn. Never walk around the home with a lit candle or lamp.  (In 2002, candles caused an estimated 18,000 structure fires, 130 civilian deaths, and $333 million in property damage in the U.S.)
  • Keep cigarettes, matches and lighters hidden and out of reach of children.
  • Never leave lit cigarettes unattended. Make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly, and do not smoke while sitting on furniture or when tired. Also, do not empty ashtrays without double-checking for hot ashes.
  • Keep door and window openings free for exit. Do not store goods at door openings and leave at least one window in each room free for egress. Make door and window locks easy to operate and leave keys at each exterior door that have double cylinder deadbolts installed.
  • Close interior doors at night. It can prevent the spread of fire and smoke. If you leave bedroom doors open, close other interior doors to "break up" the home.
  • Take special care when you are tired or have been drinking. Accident rates increase during these times.
  • Do not grill or barbeque close to your home. Clean the grill periodically to prevent flare-ups.
  • Observe and plan fire safety for the holidays. Buy or use only "approved" decorations and garments.
  • Make a fire action plan so that everyone in the home knows how to escape. Keep it simple for children and rehearse the plan annually. Include the following: crawl under smoke, check closed doors for signs of fire on the other side of it (heated surface), stop - drop - roll.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers in the home. If you suspect there is a fire, leave the home immediately.
  • Visit your local fire station for more tips on fire safety, and thank them for saving lives. It might be your life they save one day!

For more information visit the National Fire Protection Association online.