More than 4,500 Americans die each year in fires and
more than 60,000 are injured. An overwhelming number
of fires occur in the home. There are time-tested ways
to prevent and survive a fire. It's not a question of
luck. It's a matter of planning ahead.
EVERY HOME SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST ONE SMOKE DETECTOR
Buy a smoke detector at any hardware or discount
store. It's inexpensive protection for you and your
family. Install a smoke detector on every level of
your home. A working smoke detector can double your
chances of survival. Check it monthly, keep
it free of dust, and replace the battery at least once a year.
PREVENT ELECTRICAL FIRES
Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not
place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas.
Immediately shut off and have professionally repaired,
or replace appliances and lamps that sputter, spark or
omit an unusual smell. Have an electrician check the
wiring in your house.
USE APPLIANCES WISELY
When using appliances follow the manufacturer's safety
precautions. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and
sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to
be shut off, then replaced or repaired. Unplug
appliances when not in use. Use safety
caps to cover all unused outlets, especially if there
are small children in the home.
Portable electric space heaters need their space. Keep
anything combustible at least three feet away.
Keep fire in the fireplace. Use fire screens and have
your chimney cleaned regularly. The creosote build-up
can ignite your roof and the entire house.
Kerosene heaters should only be used where approved by
authorities. Never use gasoline or camp-stove fuel.
Refuel outside and only after the heater has cooled.
AFFORDABLE HOME FIRE SAFETY SPRINKLERS
When home fire sprinklers are used with working smoke
detectors, your chances of surviving a fire can increase to 90 percent.
Sprinklers are affordable--they can increase property value
and lower insurance rates.
New technology allows sprinklers to be connected
directly to your standard home plumbing system.
Individual sprinkler heads are only activated where
fire strikes. Consider a home sprinkler system
whenever renovating, buying or building a house.
Contact your local fire department for more information.
PLAN YOUR ESCAPE
Practice an escape plan from every room in the house.
Feel your way out with your eyes closed. Caution
everyone to stay low to the ground when escaping from
fire and never to open doors that are hot. Purchase an
approved chain ladder to climb out of
rooms above the first floor, and practice using it.
Select a location where everyone can meet after
escaping the house. Get everyone out quickly, and then
call for emergency assistance from a neighbor's home.
CARING FOR CHILDREN
Children under five are naturally curious about fire.
Many play with matches and lighters. Tragically, these
children set over 100,000 fires every year.
Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching your
children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Practice fire
safety in your home by following these tips:
Keep matches and lighters in a safe place.
Look for signs of fire play, such as burn holes in
carpets, clothes or furniture, burnt matches in a
closet or under the bed, or disappearing lighters or matches.
Teach them not to hide from a fire but to get out and stay out.
Have regular safety drills with your family. Practice escape plans.
CARING FOR OLDER PEOPLE
Every year 1,000 senior citizens die in fires. Many of
these fire deaths could have been prevented. Seniors
are especially vulnerable because many live alone and
can't respond quickly. Show your concern for an older
person by reminding him or her to:
Never smoke in bed. And when smoking anywhere else,
put out cigars and cigarettes immediately if drowsy.
Never leave lit cigars, cigarettes, or pipes unattended.
Never wear dangling sleeves or loose garments when cooking
Turn off burners when leaving the kitchen. If cooking
food which must be left unattended, take a potholder
or spoon as a reminder.
Finally, having a working smoke detector dramatically
increases your chances of surviving a fire. And
remember to practice a home escape plan frequently
with your family.
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