Home Fire Safety
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 3,500 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 20,000 are injured. An overwhelming number of fires occur in the home. How can you prevent and survive a fire in your home? It's a matter of planning ahead.
Every Home Should Have Working Smoke Alarms
In the event of a fire, a smoke alarm can save your life and those of your loved ones. They are a very important means of preventing house and apartment fire fatalities by providing an early warning signal -- so you and your family can escape. Smoke alarms are one of the best safety devices you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family, and your home.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or in the early morning. Smoke alarms are required both inside and outside sleeping areas, even in older homes and apartments. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
Click here for further smoke alarm information.
Prevent Electrical Fires
On average, electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 485 Americans each year and injure 2,305 more. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, but many more are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed wiring, and overloaded circuits and extension cords.
Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced.
Click here for further electrical fire information.
Use Appliances Wisely
Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions when using appliances. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to be shut off, then replaced or repaired. Unplug appliances when not in use. Use safety caps to cover all unused outlets, especially if there are small children in the home.
- Portable heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away.
- Keep fire in the fireplace. Use fire screens and have your chimney cleaned annually. The creosote buildup can ignite a chimney fire that could easily spread.
- Kerosene heaters should be used only where approved by authorities. Never use gasoline or camp-stove fuel. Refuel outside and only after the heater has cooled.
- Propane heaters also have limits on where they can be used. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them. Remember these safety tips:
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
- Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
Visit http://www.portlandonline.com/fire/index.cfm?c=51470&a=293458 for further safety tips.
Affordable Home Fire Safety Sprinklers
When home fire sprinklers are used with working smoke alarms, your chances of surviving a fire are greatly increased. Sprinklers are affordable and they can increase property value and lower insurance rates. Click here to learn more.
Plan Your Escape
Practice an escape plan with your family from each room in your home. Direct everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Select a location where everyone can meet after escaping the house. Get out then call for help. For information on how to create a home escape plan, click here.
Caring for Children
Children under five are naturally curious about fire. Many play with matches and lighters. Tragically, children set over 20,000 house fires every year. Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching your children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Learn more here.
Caring for Older People
Every year over 1,200 senior citizens die in fires. Many of these fire deaths could have been prevented. Seniors are especially vulnerable because many live alone and can't respond quickly. Link here and learn more about fire prevention and safety for older adults.
Portland Fire & Rescue We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
June 14, 2010