October 7th marks the beginning of Fire Prevention Week. What better way to honor that week then to remind homeowners about the top ways to prevent fires. Below is a video blog (and transcript) on the top five fire safety tips for your home.
1. Cook Safely. Don’t leave your range unattended. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, cooking is the leading cause of reported home fires. It’s caused almost half of them since 1990. Most of those were due to unattended cooking. About 15% of these fires originated in ovens but most came from ranges. The solution is simple enough – as US News & World Reports puts it: stand by your pan.
2. Heat Safely. The second biggest fire threat is from home heating systems. Check wood stoves for cracks or anything that might compromise a hinge or leg. Don’t burn trash. It will build residue on your chimney, which along with your furnace, needs a professional cleaning at least once a
Also, any item that can burn needs to be at least a few feet away from heating equipment, especially troublesome accessories like space heaters. Space heaters are generally more dangerous than central heaters and send 6,000 Americans to the hospital every year.
3. Child Safety. Playing with matches is the number one cause of fire deaths for US youngsters. So store matches and lighters high – out of sight, preferably locked in something. Ensure your children are properly educated on fire safety measures including stop, drop, and roll. Develop a clear escape plan for emergencies.
4. Be Mindful of Cords. Power cords become most threatening when the following conditions are present: you plug too many into one outlet; you place the cord in a high-traffic area; you put a rug over one; you put a nail under one. Dangerous cords will produce unusual smells – usually – sparks or sputtering. Taking action against all these pitfalls will further reduce the risk of an electrical fire.
5. Get Smoke and Heat Detectors. One for each floor and, ideally, each bedroom. Make sure they are placed to code. Codes are there for a reason and it’s your safety on the line. Check them once a month. Swap the batteries once a year if you have a battery operated detector. Replace the detectors themselves every 10 years.
If you want the home to be fire resistant while you’re away, you’ll need a company like American Alarm that installs and monitors your alarms.
These counter measures are just the tip of the iceberg. Check the Net for more information on how to increase your home’s life expectancy and maybe yours as well. My favorite site for this sort of thing is Safekids.org. If you go there, go to the top, to the search field, and type in the word “fire.”
To learn more about National Fire Prevention Week, please visit www.nfpa.org.