Home Fire Safety
Home Fire Safety
By Garrison Safety Office
Would you know what to do if a fire started in your home? Would your Family members? The number of residential fires always goes up during colder months, peaking between December and February. Portable space heaters substantially contribute to this increase. According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of fire deaths in the United States and Canada, killing about 1,000 people per year. Most are started when ashes or butts fall into couches and chairs. If you smoke, be especially careful around upholstered furniture, never smoke in bed, and be sure cigarettes are completely out before you toss them into the trash.
Check all electrical appliances, cords, and outlets
•Are your electrical appliances in good condition, without loose or frayed cords or plugs?
•Are your outlets overloaded with plugs from the TV, computer, printer, video game system, and stereo?
•Are you overusing an extension cord? Are you using an extension cord as a permanent outlet?
•Do the light fixtures in your home contain bulbs that are the correct wattage?
•Does your home contain GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) and/or AFCIs (arc-fault circuit interrupters), which prevent electrical shock and fire by shutting off faulty circuits?
Unless you're a trained electrician, be careful about do-it-yourself electrical projects. Studies have shown that many home fires are caused by improper installation of electrical devices.
•Replace or professionally repair any appliances that spark, smell unusual, or overheat.
•Don't run electrical wires under rugs.
•Make sure lamps and night-lights are not touching bedspreads, drapes, or other fabrics.
•Use caution when using electric blankets.
•Don't let kids use kitchen appliances by themselves and supervise any art or science projects that involve electrical devices.
•Never leave food unattended on a stove.
•Keep cooking areas free of flammable objects (such as, potholders and towels).
•Avoid wearing clothes with long, loose-fitting sleeves when cooking.
•Never smoke in bed or leave burning cigarettes unattended.
•Do not empty smoldering ashes in a trash can, and keep ashtrays away from upholstered furniture and curtains.
•Never place portable space heaters near flammable materials (such as, drapery).
•Keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children. Store them up high, preferably in a locked cabinet.
•Install smoke alarms on every floor of the home, including the basement, and particularly near rooms in which people sleep.
•Use long-life smoke alarms with lithium-powered batteries and hush buttons, which allow persons to stop false alarms quickly. If long-life alarms are not available, use regular alarms, and replace the batteries annually.
•Test all smoke alarms every month to ensure they work properly.
•Devise a family fire escape plan and practice it every 6 months. In the plan, describe at least two different ways each family member can escape every room, and designate a safe place in front of the home for family members to meet after escaping a fire.
•If possible, install or retrofit fire sprinklers into home.
Fire safety and survival begins with everyone in your household being prepared.
For more information visit http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/focus/, U.S. Fire Administration, or http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Fire-Prevention/, Center for Disease Control and Prevention.