Most people never think about the possibility of an accident occurring inside their home. Yet fires are at the top of the list for accidental injury and deaths in the home.
According to Stamford Fire and Rescue, “More than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks when heating with wood and solid fuels.”
Having fire safety and survival plans in place could save lives and prevent major damage. Be in the know with these tips on fire prevention:
Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
- Have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors installed on each floor of your house.
- At least once a month, test both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Change the batteries once a year or as needed.
- Or consider purchasing long-life detectors, but remember that they must be tested as well.
Fireplaces and Wood Stoves:
- Regular cleaning and maintenance by a qualified chimney professional will keep buildup at bay.
- Never leave decorations or other flammable materials near a wood stove or fireplace.
- ALWAYS keep a metal mesh screen in front of the fireplace.
- Make sure stovepipe thermometers are installed to monitor temperature.
- Keep air supply for both wood stoves and fireplaces open.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking – especially when using the stovetop burners.
- Keep flammable objects such as towels, plastic, paper or curtains, away from the stove.
- Always roll up sleeves and be aware of your clothing. Loose clothes can dangle and catch fire from the stovetop or oven.
- When cooking outside, NEVER leave the grill unattended. And keep everyone away from the grill when finished, because it remains hot for a while after the fire has gone out.
- Keep the grill as far away from the house, shrubs or bushes as possible. Sparks can jump right into anything nearby.
- Never leave candles burning unattended.
- Always have some form of ventilation in place when burning candles.
- Use sturdy, nonflammable candleholders.
- Blow out all candles when leaving a room.
- Do not allow candles or incense in children’s rooms.
Matches, Lighters and Lighter Fluid:
- Store all matches, lighters, and lighter fluid in a LOCKED cabinet or drawer.
- If refilling lighters, NEVER do so under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Make sure you are in an area where all flammable objects are far away. If lighter fluid drips on hands, wipe immediately with a damp cloth or damp paper towel. And be careful to disposal of the cloth or paper towel.
- If you keep matches or lighters in your purse, hide them so that children will not find them.
- Space heaters should never be near anything flammable. When in use, place them at least three to five feet away from flammable objects.
- Never leave a heater on unattended.
- Always turn off the heater when not in use.
- Never go to sleep with the heater on.
Cigarettes and Cigars:
- If possible, smoke outside.
- Use sturdy, deep ashtrays for cigarettes and cigars on a sturdy surface.
- Wet cigarettes and cigars before throwing them into the trash.
- NEVER throw a lit cigarette or cigar into the bushes or a grassy area.
An evacuation plan can help to deter panic in the event of a fire. Hold fire drills with family members to make sure each understands what to do and where to go. Make sure there are two ways to exit a room. Lastly, pick a meeting place outside of the house. If unsure, check with your local fire department for methods or equipment that can help you and your family exit the home safely.