7 Outdoor Fire Safety Tips

7 Outdoor Fire Safety TipsSummer is in full swing and that means backyard barbecues with family and friends and roasting marshmallows over open fire grills. It also means the potential for devastating grilling-related fires.

For example, on August 17, 2013, at 5:53 p.m., the Newton, Mass. Fire Department responded to a gas grill fire. The grill, which had been left unattended, ignited the exterior of the home. Damages from this fire were estimated to be $75,000, according to Massachusetts Fire Marshall Stephen Coan.

In 2013, 85 fires involving open fire grills were reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System. Two people were injured in the fires, which caused about $300,000 worth of damages. Seventy-five percent of all grill fires occurred between May and September, according to the fire marshal.

A home fire alarm system is the best defense in the event of a fire, but here are seven other tips from the Fire Marshall to help you keep your family and your home safe while you’re grilling up those hot dogs and burgers.

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6 Reasons To Test & Inspect Your Business Fire Alarm System Regularly

6 Reasons To Test & Inspect Your Business Fire Alarm System RegularlyBusiness fire alarm systems are designed to protect your business and employees from fire and smoke, but you can’t count on them if they’re not tested and inspected on a routine basis. Having your fire alarm system regularly serviced is critical to the safety of your building’s occupants.

The best way to discover whether your system is in need of maintenance is to have it professionally tested. Inspection and maintenance by licensed technicians can also help you cut down on expenses by preventing emergency repairs and costly false alarms that you haven’t included in your budget.

Testing your business fire alarm system on a regular basis ensures that it’s in compliance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 72 standards, as well as the local fire safety requirements and your insurance company’s fire alarm requirements.

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Fire Safety for Older Adults

Fire Safety for Older AdultsAn elderly couple in Methuen, Mass. died after a two-alarm blaze swept through their ranch-style home at the end of February, according to

The fire broke out about 3 a.m. on February 26, quickly engulfing the single-family structure. The man and woman were found in separate parts of the home after the fire had been extinguished, according to State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan.

Coan told the newspaper that since January 1st, 11 people had died in fires in Massachusetts – five of the victims had been elderly.

Additionally in February, a couple in their 80s died in a house fire in Concord, Mass., and a 90-year-old South Boston man died from injuries he suffered in a fire in his apartment.

“This has been a difficult year,” Coan told “The elderly population has been vulnerable in these fires.”

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Working Smoke Detectors, CO Detectors Save Lives

Working Smoke Detectors, CO Detectors Save LivesOn Wednesday February 12th, a woman in her 50s lost her life when a fire broke out in an apartment of a three-family home in Cambridge, Mass. Fire officials determined the cause of the fatal blaze was an electric baseboard heater that may have malfunctioned.

The home fire alarm system (smoke detectors) inside the apartment, as well as throughout the building, had been disconnected or did not have batteries, said Cambridge Fire Chief Gerald R. Reardon.

“A working smoke alarm coupled with an escape plan can double one’s chances of surviving a fire,” he said.

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Fire Safety Tips For Holiday Trees and Ornaments

Fire Safety Tips For Holiday Trees and OrnamentsWhen it comes to lighting your holiday tree, the number one holiday safety tip from fire officials is “never use lighted candles as decorations” — so imagine our concern when we saw this blog post, “How to Put Real Candles on Your Christmas Tree Safely.”

“Real candles on a Christmas tree can be stunningly beautiful, moving, but if you don’t know how to do it safely, it can be very hazardous. If you know how to do it right, it can be a very good and safe experience. Think it’s crazy?” the authors of the post ask.

Yes, here at American Alarm where home and family safety is our top priority, we think it borders on crazy and substantially increases the risk of fire damage or disaster.

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Fire Safety in Off-Campus Housing

off-campus-fire-safetyWe’re only a couple months into the academic year, but tragically one college student has already perished in an off-campus fire.

Scott Notary, a 22 year old Purdue University student from Lafayette, Indiana, was killed in his apartment in a 2 ½ story residential building in the early morning hours of November 17, according to Campus Firewatch. Notary was found in a bedroom on the second floor.

This is the first fatal fire of the 2013-2014 academic year. Since 2000, Campus Firewatch said there have been 163 campus-related fire fatalities – 87% of them occurred off-campus, where approximately 2/3 of the students across the nation live.

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Home Fire System: Avoid Fall Fire Dangers

House FireWe all know that installing smoke detectors in your home fire system is the number one way to prevent fatalities during a fire in your home. That’s why it’s critical to change the batteries in your smoke detector twice a year — at the same time you set your clocks to either “spring forward” or “fall back.”

This year daylight savings time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3. So when you get ready to turn your clocks back an hour, remember to replace the batteries in your smoke detector — as well as your carbon monoxide detector. If you have a monitored fire alarm system make sure you call to have it tested at least once a year. American Alarm is one company that offers free annual wellness inspections to monitored residential customers for this purpose.

Here are a few less obvious steps you can take to reduce the risk of fire in your home.

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The Dangers of Cigarette Smoking at Home

cigarette smoking at homeNot too long ago we provided some tips on how to prevent smoking-related fires in your home after a Westfield, MA woman died in a fire caused by cigarette smoking near a home oxygen system. Even more recently, an off-duty police officer helped rescue an elderly woman from a blaze in Arlington, Massachusetts that was ignited when someone improperly extinguished a cigarette in a planter filled with mulch on the second-floor deck of a two-story home.

The woman — who was on oxygen —  lived on the first floor and after firefighters knocked down the fire, they removed at least five oxygen canisters in danger of exploding. The Arlington woman was very lucky. Every year nearly 1,000 people die in home fires started by cigarettes, according to the U.S. Fire Administration — and one in four of the people killed in those types of home fires was not the smoker whose cigarettes caused the blaze.

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How to Prevent Smoking-related Fires in the Home

You’ve probably heard the stories about people who have fallen asleep with a lit cigarette in their hand and woken up to a house on fire — or who have been pulled out of the charred remains of their home by a fire crew. Those aren’t tall tales: each year, the U.S. Fire Administration documents close to 1,000 cases of individuals killed in home fires started by cigarettes.

cigaretteRecently, a Westfield, Massachusetts woman was killed by cigarette smoking near a home oxygen system. The fire not only took her life, but caused significant damage to the downtown apartment complex. While smoking should NEVER take place near highly flammable materials such as oxygen systems, fires often still occur in homes without obvious risks.

Aside from quitting smoking, there are a few ways you can try to reduce the chances that you will ever have to deal with a home fire caused by a lit cigarette. Read more

Home Security: Stay Safe while Cooking

Cooking is one of the more dangerous activities that we regularly take part in inside our homes without ever really thinking about it from a risk perspective. Objectively, it seems obvious: anytime you deal with an open flame, or a hot surface, you are creating a situation where a fire or serious burns could occur.

kitchenfireEven if you think you’re careful in the kitchen, young children in your house often aren’t quite as safety-minded as you are when it comes to interacting with the various appliances and utensils used in the modern home.

Fortunately, it’s easy to stay safe while cooking. Let’s look at a few tips that can prevent injury while making dinner: Read more