According to the United States Fire Administration, approximately 85% of fire-related deaths occur in the home. Every year, more than 400 children under age ten die in home fires.
Fire and burns are the third leading cause of deaths that occur in the home, the third-leading cause of injury-related fatalities among children ages one to nine, and the fourth most prevalent cause for children ages ten to 14 in the United States. Many more could be prevented by following some prevention tips and precautions.
- Follow safe cooking practices. Never leave food that is cooking unattended. Supervise children’s use of the stove, oven, or microwave and establish a three foot kid-free zone: an area for children and pets to stay clear of things that are hot.
- Install and maintain smoke alarms on every floor of the home and near every bedroom. Test them monthly and replace batteries at least annually. Keep smoke alarms away from air vents. Place smoke alarms at least four to six inches away from walls and corners.
- Teach children that fire is not a toy, and can be dangerous.
- Keep matches and lighters locked up and away from children.
- Keep electrical cords and power strips from being pinched against walls.
- Do not overload electrical circuits or extension cords.
- Shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or smell. Have them checked and repaired, or replaced.
- Be careful when using portable heaters. Be sure bedding, clothing and other combustible items are at least three feet from space heaters. Plug portable heaters directly into the wall socket, and not into extension cords. Unplug the heater when it is not being used and when you leave the room. Never operate a portable heater when you go to bed.
- Replace mattresses made prior to 2007, when flammability standards were implemented.
- Use fireplace screens and have the chimney cleaned and inspected annually by a certified chimney sweep.
Fires occur quickly. In less than 30 seconds, a single flame can become a large fire. In two minutes, it can become life-threatening. In as little as four minutes, a residence can be destroyed. To protect yourself and your family, be prepared.
- Have an escape plan, and practice the plan with children and everyone in your home. Learn two ways out of every room, and agree on a meeting place outside the building.
- If you live in an apartment building, know the best route to the stairwell and emergency exits.
- If you are in a room with a closed door when fire occurs, there are extra precautions:
- Do not open the door if you see smoke under it.
- If you don’t see smoke, check the door handle. If it is hot, do not open the door.
- If you can open the door, and there is no smoke or heat, proceed quickly to your exit.
- Stay low to the ground as you exit.
- If you can’t get out right away, yell for help or call 911 if you have a phone. Do not hide in a closet or under a bed.
E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety would like to wish you and your family a safe holiday season Where You Live!