Did you know that cooling and heating are the leading causes of home fires and fire injuries?  Did you know that November and December are the peak months for fire-related deaths?  With the holidays right around the corner and the weather getting colder, now is the perfect time to review and practice fire safety.

Safety Tips When Cooking:

  • Be alert; if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the oven or stove-top.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
  • When simmering, baking or roasting, check the food regularly, remain in the kitchen while cooking and use a timer.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stove-top.

Heating is the second leading cause of death. Heating safety tips:

  • Keep all flammables, like paper, clothing, bedding, drapes or rugs, at least 3 feet from a space heater, stove or fireplace.
  • Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended; turn off heaters and make sure fireplace embers are extinguished before leaving the room.
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, nonflammable surface, like ceramic tile, not on a rug or carpet.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over.

Other top causes of fire include smoking, electrical problems and candles. To minimize risks:

  • Institute a “no smoking” policy in the house.
  • Check all cords and replace any that are frayed or have bare wires.
  • Switch to flame-less candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters high and out of children’s reach in a locked cabinet.

Working Smoke Alarms are a Must

About three out of five deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan providing early warning reducing your risk of dying in a fire.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas on the ceiling or high on the wall.
  • Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen, at least 10 feet from the stove, to reduce false alarms.
  • Use special alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers for people who are hard of hearing or deaf.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan

In the event of a fire, remember every second counts, so you and your family must always be prepared. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. Twice a year you should practice a home fire escape plan with your family.

Tips to consider when preparing this plan include:

  • Find two ways to get out of each room in the event the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke.
  • A secondary route might be a window onto a neighboring roof or a collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows.
  • Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be properly opened.
  • Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
  • Teach children not to hide from firefighters.