Each year more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the United States, with direct property loss due to home fires estimated at $7.3 billion annually. Home fires can be prevented!
To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.
There is little time! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames. Most deadly fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won’t have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape.
Information Provided By: http://www.ready.gov/fires
It is extreamly important that everyone in your household knows what to do in the event of a fire emergency, make sure that you draw a floor plan and have at least two ways of escaping from every room in the house.
Make sure to test windows and doors, making sure they open easy enough that everyone in the home can open them.
Have a meeting place outside the home, that everyone meets once out of harms way.
Practice your escape plan monthly with the entire family, so everyone is clear on where to go and how to get there.
Teach childeren not to hide from fire fighters.
Test smoke alarms monthly.
Replace smoke alarms every 8-10 years.
Information Provided By: http://www.firesafetytips.com/
To Prevent a House Fire:
•Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
•Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
•Do not cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
•Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet around the stove.
•Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
•If you smoke, smoke outside. Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the home. Put your cigarettes out in a can filled with sand.
•Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. The cigarette really needs to be completely stubbed out in an ashtray. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
•Check for cigarette butts. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast. Don’t put ashtrays on them. If people have been smoking in the home, check for cigarettes under cushions.
•Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
•Be alert – don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.
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.
•Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
•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.
•Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
•Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
Portable Space Heaters
•Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
•Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
•Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
•Check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community.
•Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.
Fireplaces and Woodstoves
•Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
•Never burn trash, paper, or green wood.
•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.
•Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container outside the home.
•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.
•Teach children not to pick up matches or lighters they may find. Instead, they should tell an adult immediately.
•Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.
•Check under beds and in closets for burned matches, evidence your child may be playing with fire.
More Prevention Tips
•Avoid using lighted candles.
•Never use the range or oven to heat your home.
•Replace mattresses made before the 2007 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard. Mattresses made since then are required by law to be safer.
•Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
•Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.
Information Provided By: http://www.ready.gov/fires