In our last issue, we discussed setting up a family plan in the event of fire and things you can do outside of your residence to prevent fires. Now we will address things to do to prevent interior fires.
Walk through your home and observe what items could lead to a fire hazard. Prevention is always a lot easier than handling the problems that fires cause.
- Are the stove and oven clean, devoid of grease and debris? Never store items in the oven. Built-up grease can easily catch fire – clean it up before it can happen.
- Are you using any frayed electrical cords, power strips, or extension cords? Check small appliances, floor lamps, table lamps, vacuums, hair dryers, curling irons, cords, or any other appliance. If there is a bad cord, discard or replace it.
- Do you leave your appliances running when you leave home? Avoid this habit at all times.
- Do you like to BBQ? Only use grills designed for indoor use if grilling inside. Never use one designed for the outside. Not only could it cause a fire, but also could emit deadly carbon dioxide poisons.
- Do you overload the dishwasher? Items can catch fire if they land on the heating coils.
- Are you aware if you are using too many appliances? Overloaded circuits can cause fires. If your appliances are constantly shutting down, tripping a GFI circuit, or you see blinking lights, you are probably overloading the circuits. Discontinue use when this happens.
- Do you use any type of additional heating appliance, such as a space heater? Never place a heating appliance near anything flammable and turn it off when leaving the room or the house. It is advisable to use a heating appliance that will automatically shut off if it tips over or overheats.
- Do you use many candles? If so, determine if the candle placement or the candle itself could cause a fire. Do not leave candles burning unattended, extinguish them when you leave the room, and never burn candles on holiday trees.
- Do you have a fireplace? If so, always be sure the flue is open before building a fire, never load too much wood inside the firebox, use a fire screen at all times, do not place anything flammable too close to the fire, and do not burn anything but the correct wood for the fireplace in the fire – burning trash is dangerous.
- Do you use matches, lighters, or halogen lights? If so, store matches and lighters properly and keep them out of reach of children. Keep halogen lights clear of flammable window coverings, furnishings, low ceilings, and turn off when leaving the house.
- Do you check your holiday lights? Never put up any lights, inside or out, without checking them and discarding any that are not working properly.
Fires can still happen - remember, fires spread quickly and are deadly, so “be prepared.” We want to remind you again of the following five important items.
- Check your smoke alarm/detector and do it often! Test your batteries at least once a month and when necessary, replace them, even if they also electric. Never disconnect a smoke alarm/detector and notify your property manager if it does not work.
- Obtain renter’s insurance and keep it current.
- Buy portable fire extinguishers and place around the residence. Keep them current.
- Make sure everyone knows how to sound an alarm and escape. Practice the escape route in advance.
- Put important papers and other valuables together so you can quickly take them with you during evacuation if possible.
- If there is a fire, stay calm, call 911, keep low, avoid breathing in smoke or gases, and evacuate quickly.
There is a lot you can do to prevent fires. Act now and plan to protect your home and family.