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HOME FIRE SAFETY
According to the National Fire Protection Association...
In 2005, there were 381,000 reported home fires in the United States, resulting in 3,030 deaths, 13,300
injuries and $6.7 billion in direct property damage. Nationwide, there was a civilian home fire death every 2 hrs.
Half (51%) of all home fire deaths in 2002 resulted from fires that were reported
between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Only 21%of the home fires occur during these hours.
During 1999-2002, January was the peak month for home fire deaths.
December ranked second, and February was third.
Although children five and under make up about 7% of the country's population,
they accounted for 12% of the home fire deaths, assigning them a risk twice the national average.
Based on 1999-2002 annual averages, adults 65 and older also face a risk twice the average,
while people 85 and older have a risk that is three-and-a-half times more than average.
Roughly one-quarter of the home fire deaths in 1999-2002 were caused by fires in which a
smoke alarm was present and operated.
Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2005, 13 home fires killed five or more people.
These 13 fires resulted in 80 deaths.
With these startling
statistics in mind,
here are some safety tips for you:
Smoke is responsible for three out of four deaths
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and
outside of sleeping areas
- Test every detector at least once a month
- Keep smoke detectors dust free. Replace batteries with
new ones at least once a year, or sooner if the detector
makes a chirping sound
- If you have a smoke detector directly wired into your
electrical system, be sure that the little signal light
is blinking periodically. This tells you that the alarm
- Inexpensive smoke detectors are available for the hearing
They remain your best bet if you're on the spot when a fire
THINKING AHEAD: Your Exit Plan
- Fire extinguishers should be mounted in the kitchen,
garage, and workshop
- Purchase an ABC type extinguisher for extinguishing all
types of fires
- Learn how to use your fire extinguisher before there is
- Remember, use an extinguisher on small fires only. If
there is a large fire, get out immediately and call 911
from another location
As with other things, the best motto is, "Be
- Prepare a floor plan of your home showing at least two
ways out of each room.
- Sleep with your bedroom door closed. In the event of
fire, it helps to hold back heat and smoke. But if a door
feels hot, do not open it; escape through another door or
- Easy-to-use window escape ladders are available through
many catalogues and outlet stores. For instance, First
Alert sells one for around $90
- Agree on a fixed location out-of-doors where family
members are to gather for a head count
- Stay together away from the fire. Call 911 from another
location. Make certain that no one goes back inside the
- Check corridors and stairways to make sure they are free
of obstructions and combustibles
- To help cut down on the need for an emergency exit in the
first place, clear all unnecessary items from the attic,
basement, garage, and closets
Remember, you're deliberately bringing fire into your home;
- Use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying
- Don't store newspapers, kindling, or matches near the
fireplace or have an exposed rug or wooden floor right in
front of the fireplace
- Have your chimney inspected by a professional prior to
the start of every heating season and cleaned to remove
combustible creosote build-up if necessary
- Install a chimney spark arrester to prevent roof fires.
- When lighting a gas fireplace, strike your match first
then turn on the gas
Used improperly, a space heater can be the most dangerous
appliance in your house.
- Install and maintain heating equipment correctly. Have
your furnace inspected by a professional prior to the
start of every heating season
- Don't store newspapers, rags, or other combustible
materials near a furnace, hot water heater, space heater,
- Don't leave space heaters operating when you're not in
- Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything
that might burn, including the wall
- Don't use extension cords with electrical space heaters.
The high amount of current they require could melt the
cord and start a fire
- When lighting a gas space heater, strike your match
first, then turn on the gas
- Never use a gas range as a substitute for a furnace or
Under some circumstances, dangerous heat can build up in a
- Never leave home with the clothes dryer running
- Dryers must be vented to the outside, not into a wall or
- Clean the lint screen frequently to keep the airway
- Never put in synthetic fabrics, plastic, rubber, or foam
because they retain heat
Electricity, the silent servant, can become a silent assassin.
- It is better not to use extension cords. If you feel you
must use one, make sure that it is not frayed or worn. Do
not run it under a rug or twist it around a nail or hook.
- Never overload a socket. In particular, the use of
"octopus" outlets, outlet extensions that
accommodate several plugs, is strongly discouraged
- Do not use light bulb wattage which is too high for the
fixture. Look for the label inside each fixture which
tells the maximum wattage
- Check periodically for loose wall receptacles, loose
wires, or loose lighting fixtures. Sparking means that
you've waited too long
- Allow air space around the TV to prevent overheating. The
same applies to plug-in radios and stereo sets, and to
- If a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows frequently,
immediately cut down on the number of appliances on that
- Be sure all electrical equipment bears the Underwriters
Laboratories (UL) label
- In many older homes, the capacity of the wiring system
has not kept pace with today's modern appliances.
Overloaded electrical systems invite fire. Watch for
these overload signals: dimming lights when an appliance
goes on, a shrinking TV picture, slow heating appliances,
or fuses blowing frequently. Call a qualified electrician
to get expert help
Careless cooking is the number one cause of residential fires.
Never leave cooking unattended.
CHILDREN and GRANDCHILDREN
- It's wise to have a fire extinguisher near the kitchen.
Keep it 10 feet away from the stove on the exit side of
- Never pour water on a grease fire; turn off the stove and
cover the pan with a lid, or close the oven door
- Keep pot handles on the stove pointing to the back, and
always watch young children in the kitchen
- Don't store items on the stove top, as they could catch
- Keep kitchen appliances clean and in good condition, and
turn them off and disconnect them when not in use.
- Don't overload kitchen electrical outlets and don't use
appliances with frayed or cracked wires
- Wear tight-fitting clothing when you cook. Here's why: An
electrical coil on the stove reaches a temperature of 800
degrees. A gas flame goes over 1,000 degrees. Your dish
towel or pot holder can catch fire at 400 degrees. So can
your bathrobe, apron, or loose sleeve
- Be sure your stove is not located under a window in which
curtains are hanging
- Clean the exhaust hood and duct over the stove regularly.
and wipe up spilled grease as soon as the surface of the
stove is cool
- Operate your microwave only when there is food in it
One-fourth of all fire-deaths of children are from fires
started by children.
GASOLINE AND OTHER FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS
- Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of children.
- Never leave children unattended with fire or space
- Children are naturally curious about fire, so keep an eye
on them. But if a child repeatedly plays with fire or
seems to have a morbid fascination with fire, seek
professional help at once
- If youngsters live with you or stay overnight
occasionally, be sure that they know how to escape from
every room and are part of your emergency exit plan.
Those cans aren't painted red just for the fun of it!
- Flammable liquids should be stored only in approved
safety containers, and the containers should be kept
outside the house and garage in a separate storage shed
- Gas up lawn equipment and snowthrowers outside, away from
enclosed areas and any source of sparks or heat
- Start the equipment 10 feet from where you filled it with
- Don't fill a hot lawn mower, snowthrower, or other motor;
let it cool first
- Never clean floors or do other general cleaning with
gasoline or flammable liquids
- Never smoke in bed
- Don't smoke when you are drinking or are abnormally
- Use large, deep ashtrays, and empty them frequently
- Never dump an ashtray into the trash without wetting the
butts and ashes first
FIRE SAFETY ROCKS