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.