Fire prevention starts at home
BY SANDY MATHER Educational Services
A leading cause of home fires is electricity
Did you know?
† Fire is Fast!
There is little time. In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire.
† Fire is hot!
Heat is more threatening than flames. A fire's heat alone can kill. Room temperature in a fire can be 100 degrees at the floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level.
† Fire is dark!
Fire isn't bright, it's pitch black. Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.
† Fire is deadly!
Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill.
Do you and your family regularly check for home fire hazards? If not, there
is the potential for danger.
Fire departments responded to nearly 400,000
home fires in 2010 causing $6.9 billion in damages. In fact, more than 78
percent of all structure fires are home fires.
Many potential fire hazards go undetected because people simply do not take
steps to fireproof their home - and most potential fire hazards can be
corrected with a little common sense.
Cooking fires are one of the leading causes of home fires and home fire
injuries. Nearly all kitchen fires start with the ignition of food, cooking
materials such as oil or other items found in the kitchen.
Heating equipment is another leading cause of home fires. Portable and fixed
space heaters, including wood stoves, should always be at least three feet
away from any kind of flammable materials.
Another leading cause of home fires is electricity. In 2006, more than
52,000 reported fires were due to electrical problems, such as frayed wires,
misuse of extension cords and overloaded outlets.
Smoking has been a leading cause of home fires for decades. Eighty percent
of home smoking fires originate in upholstered furniture, mattresses,
bedding or clothing. Bedroom fires are often caused by smoking in bed,
misuse or poor maintenance of electrical devices, careless use of candles
and children playing with matches and lighters.
Fire safety and prevention starts at home, and involves the entire family.
Identifying potential fire hazards and correcting them before a fire starts
is a lesson in saving lives.
† Make a list of five things you and your family can do to help make your
home more fire safe, such as:
- checking electrical outlets and extension cords,
- storage of flammable products,
- correct use of space heaters,
- storing and use of matches,
- lighting and location of candles, and more.
Set a goal to check everything off your list during October.
† Check the labels of each of the upholstered items in your home to see
which ones are labeled as made of flame retardant properties.