The most recent statistics from the National Fireman’s Association found that nearly 3,000 people died and 16,000 people were injured in fires in 2013.
National fire prevention week is held every October, but it’s important to do everything you can now to prevent a tragedy.
The first step in fire safety is removing hazards and having the correct fire safety equipment to be as prepared as possible and help prevent them in the first place.
Install smoke detectors on every level of your house including basements, attics and in every sleeping area. Smoke rises so put them on the ceiling or high up on walls. Test alarms every month and change batteries if needed or at least twice a year.
Don’t overload outlets, use extension cords, or run cords under carpeting.
Use the correct wattage of bulbs in light fixtures and lamps
Install GFCI’s (ground fault circuit interrupters) and/or AFCI’ (arc fault circuit interrupters). These will shut off any problems with the circuitry which may cause a fire.
If you must use a space heater make sure to read all the instructions carefully. Keep all flammable material like paper, clothes, curtains, and bedding far away. Make sure it is 3 feet away from any object.
Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children
Candles should always be placed in a sturdy non-flammable holder. Keep them out of the reach of children and away from curtains and furniture. Never let them to burn while you sleep and never allow your children to have them in their rooms.
Do not wear loose clothing while cooking. Keep dish towels and potholders away from burners. Always supervise children in the kitchen. Keep pot handles turned inward.
Remove all flammable materials completely. Keep gas, kerosene, paint and cleaning supplies outside.
Have an all purpose fire extinguisher on every floor and in the kitchen. Know how to use it and check the gauge to make sure it is still working. These are ok for very small fires, but it is more important to leave the house when a fire is out of control.
Teach Children Fire Safety
Never play with matches or lighters
Create a family fire escape plan and routinely practice it. You could even practice in the dark with all the lights turned off. Make sure all windows are easy to open and get a fire-safe ladder if you have more than one floor.
Have them learn the phrase, “Get low, Get out, Stay out!” Explain they need to crawl, get out as quickly as possible, and never ever go back in for any reason.
Make sure they understand not to stop to grab any belongings or pets.
Designate a meeting place that is a safe distance away. Tell them to never leave that spot no matter what.
Fires are scary for adults and children, but you can have some peace of mind knowing you are prepared. For more fire safety tips and information on how to make a fire escape plan go to https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Teaching-tools/Safety-tip-sheets