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Fire Prevention
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       As winter is typically the most dangerous time of the year for home fires, let’s take a look at  the 5 most common causes for fire in the home, some statistics and  identify  some of the ways that you can help make your home safer.

Fire.  Not only is it  destructive…but, it’s often deadly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in  2011  US fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires .   The results: $6.9 billion in direct damage, 13,910 civilian injuries and  2,520 civilian deaths. Some very sobering statistics.

Kitchen

Cooking in the kitchen accounts for   42% of all fires.  A large  majority of those are a direct result of being distracted or leaving  the cooking unattended.   If you are tired or have consumed  alcohol, don’t use the stove or stove  top.

Kitchen Fire
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If you must leave the kitchen, make sure to turn off the stove.   Keep anything that is combustible- oven mitts, wooden spoons, food  packaging paper towels away from the stove top.

If a fire breaks out, it is recommended to just get out and call  911.  If you insist on trying to  contain the fire, make sure that others leave and that you have a clear path of egress. For an oven fire, shut off the heat and close the oven door.  Never throw water on a grease fire…shut  off the stove top and use  a cover  to smother the fire.  Leave it on  until it is completely cooled.

Heating  Equipment

Home fires increase dramatically in the winter months, with  almost half of all heating equipment related fires occurring between December  and February.  It is recommended  that you get your furnace, heating system and chimneys  cleaned and serviced annually by a qualified professional.   Portable heating units should be kept at least 3 feet from couches and  curtains  and  anything  that can burn.  Always turn them  off when you leave the room or go to bed. Never use a heater to dry clothes, and   if burning wood in a  fireplace  always use a sturdy mesh  screen to prevent sparks and make sure that all ashes are cool before leaving  the fire unattended.

Candles

While  many of us  enjoy the ambience and smell of candles,  they are an all too common source of potential fire danger.   Make sure that you use stable, sturdy candle holders on a level surface    and keep open flames at least 12 inches  away from anything thing that can burn.  Keep them away from children and  extinguish them before going to bed or leaving the room. Never go to sleep with  candles burning in the bedroom.

Smoking

5 causes of fire-smoking
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 In 2011 there were 90,000 smoking related fires resulting in over 500  deaths…with nearly half of the victims aged 65 and over.   While it is best to smoke outside the home,  avoid smoking in the bedroom  or when you are drowsy, intoxicated or on medication. Be sure to use deep, wide ashtrays on a stable surface and douse ashes in butts in sand or  water  before throwing them out. Never smoke in  a home where oxygen is being used.

 

Electrical Equipment

     The 5th common cause of home fires is even more  prevalent during the holiday season. Make sure that there are no loose or  frayed plugs on your appliances, space heaters, fans etc. Don’t overload circuits or run extension cords or electrical wires under  rugs or heavy furniture.  Place  lamps on level surfaces away from curtains or things that can burn.  If outlets or switches feel warm, there are
frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits or flickering or  dimming lights- call a certified electrician.

While we are highlighting fire safety in the heating season, it is important that we all make fire safety a year-round priority. It is critical that you properly maintain fire extinguishers and

smoke detectors in  the home.  These are just a few of  the more common causes,  and a good  starting point for a comprehensive life safety program.  To explore  how you can  better protect your home and family from fires,  with monitored smoke and carbon  monoxide protection, visit some of our top alarm companies.

 

Please feel free to leave comments or feedback on the five most common sources of fire in the home.

 

The 5 Most Common Causes of Fire in the Home was last modified: January 29th, 2015 by Mike HSA
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