Fire Safety

  • Burn Prevention

People of all ages are at risk for painful burn injuries in the home. A burn is an injury that results from heat or flame and can lead to serious scarring, or even death in severe cases. Fortunately, these injuries are easily preventable by following appropriate safety precautions. To make your home safer for family and visitors, follow this simple advice:

  • Electrical receptacles (outlets) in kitchens, bathrooms and other wet areas should be protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). GFCI's help reduce electrical shock injuries. An electrician can tell you if your home's wiring needs to be updated for safety.

  • Always stay in the kitchen when you have something cooking on the range and give it your full attention. If you must leave the range for a moment, turn down the heat first and return quickly.

  • Teach older children who are learning to cook burn prevention tips.

  • Roll up sleeves when cooking and avoid reaching over burners and other hot surfaces.

  • Avoid storing items you frequently use directly over the range.

  • Keep children well away from the cooking area and place hot pans and cookie sheets away from the edges of counters where children can reach them.

  • Use heavy oven mitts and hot pads when cooking.

  • Learn how to prevent and extinguish a small pan fire.

  • Keep electrical appliances such as toasters, radios, and hairdryers, away from the sink and tub. If an appliance falls into water, un-plug it immediately. Never reach into water to retrieve it.

  • Never touch an electrical appliance when you are bathing.

  • Unplug these appliances when not in use.

  • Wood stoves, fire places and other portable heaters get hot on the outside. Keep young children well away from these devices.

  • Store matches, lighters and candles up high, ideally in a locked cabinet, so young children cannot reach them.

Treat a minor burn injury immediately with cool running water for 3-5 minutes. Do not apply ice, which can harm the skin. Do not apply butter or lotions, because this can keep the skin temperature hot, increasing the injury. Apply a sterile bandage to the injured area. If the burn is serious, seek medical treatment immediately.

If your clothing catches fire remember the phrase, "STOP, DROP and ROLL." This can save your life and limit your burn injuries. Stop where you are. Drop to the floor. Roll over and over to smother the fire. If someone else's clothing catches fire, help them by telling them to stop, drop and roll. If they attempt to run, use a heavy rug or blanket to try to stop them and use it to smother the flames if you can do so safely.

  • Fire Prevention Tips

According to the Home Safety Council's State of Home Safety in America Report, fires and burns are the third leading cause of unintentional home injury and related deaths. Fire safety and survival begin with everyone in your household being prepared. Follow these safety measures to reduce the chance of fire in your home:

  • Keep volatile chemicals, such as fertilizers and turpentine, in their original containers in a locked storage area separate from the home.

  • Store gasoline in a garage or shed in a container approved for gasoline storage.

  • Never bring or use gasoline indoors; and use it as a motor fuel only.

  • Keep things that can burn away from your fireplace and keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace.

  • Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet.

  • Always stay in the kitchen while cooking.

  • Keep things that can burn, such as dishtowels, paper or plastic bags, and curtains at least three feet away from the range top.

  • Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before dumping them in the trash.

  • When cooking, do not wear loose-fitting clothing ,which can be ignited by hot burners or gas flames.

  • Never leave barbecue grills unattended while in use.

  • Keep grills at least three feet away from other objects, including the house and any shrubs or bushes.

  • Never leave burning candles unattended and do not allow children to keep candles or incense in their rooms.

  • Always use stable, candle holders made of material that won't catch fire, such as metal, glass, etc.

  • Schedule an appointment with professionals to have chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves, central furnaces and space heaters inspected once a year and cleaned as often as necessary.

  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from things that can burn, such as curtains or stacks of newspaper, and always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.

  • Be careful not to overload electrical outlets, extension cords and power strips.

  • Check all wires and cords for damage and cover all unused electrical outlets.

  • Protect bedrooms by having arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI's) installed. Contact a professional electrician to handle this job.

  • Fire Safety At Home

Safe practices at home are part of your family's fire protection plan, and it is also critical that your home and family are prepared to react quickly if a fire occurs at home. Learn more about the following essential safety practices in the Home Safety Council's Safety Guide.

  • Develop a fire escape plan for your family that identifies two exits out of every room and an established meeting place outside. Practice makes perfect - hold a family fire drill at least twice each year.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly. Install additional smoke alarms inside bedrooms.

  • Know how to extinguish a small pan fire by sliding a lid over the flames.

  • Teach every family member to "Stop, Drop and Roll" if clothes catch fire.

  • Consider having a home fire sprinkler system installed in your new home, or when you remodel.

  • Learn how and when to use a fire extinguisher.

  • Installing and Testing Smoke Alarms

Research shows that 97 percent of American homes have at least one smoke alarm, but one may not be enough. Do you have enough smoke alarms in your home? Are they correctly installed? Early warning is essential for every fire escape plan. To ensure your family will be effectively alerted to any fire dangers, use the following guidelines when installing and testing smoke alarms:

  • Only purchase smoke alarms that are listed by UL and carry the UL mark on packaging.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Make sure there is an alarm near every sleeping area.

  • Install additional smoke alarms inside all bedrooms.

  • Smoke rises, so smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings. Ceiling mounted alarms should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.

  • Choose an installation location that is well away from the path of steam from bathrooms and cooking vapors from the kitchen, which can result in false, or nuisance alarms.

  • Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.

  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month, following the manufacturer's instructions, which typically involves pushing the "test" button on the face of the alarm cover. Install fresh batteries at least once a year.

  • Use hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms with battery back-up. These alarms run on your household wiring and are tied in together so that if one alarm operates, they all signal together.

  • Smoke alarms should be replaced at least once every 10 years.

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