Prevent Home Fires
Home fires can be preventable. The following are simple steps each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn off the stove if you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
- Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and check railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep a fire extinguisher available.
Electrical and Appliance Safety
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to touch and lights that flicker.
- Turn off holiday lights at night or when you leave the house.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from flammable materials or consider using flameless candles.
- Water your Christmas tree daily and do not let it dry out. A dry tree is more flammable.
- Make sure your tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and not blocking an exit.
- Do not overload extension cords and outlets.
Fireplaces and Woodstoves
- Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
- Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
- Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
Portable Space Heaters
- Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
- Only buy heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Check to make sure the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls.
- Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room away from curtains and other flammable items.
Keeping Children Safe
- Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
- Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children unattended near operating stoves, or burning candles, even for a short time.
More Fire Prevention Tips
- Never use a stove range or oven to heat your home.
- Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
- Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors and in well ventilated areas.
A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.
- Replace batteries twice a year, unless you are using 10-year lithium batteries.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement.
- Replace the entire smoke alarm unit every 10 years or according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking - it can be a deadly mistake.
- Audible alarms are available for visually impaired people and smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for the hearing impaired.