Be Aware! Prevent Fire Hazards In Your Home. Have A Family Plan In Case Of Disaster.
A couple weeks ago, our community suffered the heartbreaking tragedy of a house fire where the outcome ended in the fatality of a teenage boy. I have four kids and the thought of an incident as horrific as losing a child, has not been far from my mind and my heart hurts for the family’s loss. Tragedy affects an entire community in one way or another from, family, to friends and first responders who lived the horrific experience. Since then, I have become more aware of things I do around my own house that I could do differently to help prevent such a devastating outcome. I found out that most fires occur between November and March, with the highest percentage of incidents happening in January. 48% of fires are cooking related, 15% are heating related and electrical distribution and lighting are %10 related. Bringing awareness to simple things we can do to prevent devastation has been on my mind, so in my research I decided to share some things I learned.
1. Since cooking amounts to almost half of the percentage of fires, NEVER leave food unattended while cooking and be cautious if you are cooking with grease or oils. If you are not in the kitchen, turn off the elements.
2. Keep your dryer filters clean and do regular maintenance of dryer vents. Build-up in the vents and filters can cause blockage and overheating, which in-turn can spark a fire.
3. Don’t leave lights on in your home when you are not there or be sure not to use the wrong wattage light bulb.
4. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, clean your chimney often.
5. When cleaning out the ash in your stove, be sure to put the embers in a fireproof container, such as a metal bucket.
6. Replace old wiring.
7. Don’t overload an outlet with too many plug-ins.
8. Don’t use damaged cords of any kind.
9. When using candles, clear the area of anything flammable. Don’t leave candles burning if you are not in the room.
10. Be careful with space heaters and heaters that use coils to create warmth. Do not have them near anything flammable and don’t leave them unattended.
11. Make sure your home has smoke alarms and that they are installed correctly!!!
Sometimes, matters are out of our hands and accidents can still happen whether we take all the precautions or not. In the case of a fire, have a plan. Discuss it with your family and have a plan in case disaster strikes.
1. Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
2. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
3. Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
4. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
5. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
6. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
7. Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
(Family fire plan taken from redcross.org)