Top Ten Ways to Prevent Fires

08 Nov Top Ten Ways to Prevent Fires

Too often we hear that horrific news story about a family home that’s gone up in flames, with loved ones perishing in the blaze. The stark, charred remains of a family home once so full of life:  meals, laundry, homework, consumes the big screen in silence. We often think, “How could this possibly happen?” “Why didn’t they get out in time?”

It’s just not as easy as it seems.  The Red Cross warns that you have less than 2 minutes to escape a home fire. A cursory glance at home fire statistics is even more alarming:  every single day 7 people die in a home fire, and 36 people suffer injuries from a home fire, on an average. Home fires cause more than $7 billion property damage every year.


In light of these sobering numbers, consider these top 10 fire prevention suggestions from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA):

  1. Cook in the Moment: “Stand by your pan!” Cooking is the number one cause of home fires. Watch your cooking while you’re cooking. Turn pot handles to the back of the stove. Keep a spare pan lid nearby to extinguish spontaneous flame. Turn off the stove if you need to leave the kitchen for any reason.
  2. No Smoking In the House.
  3. Respect Space Heaters: Space heaters should be kept at least 3 feet away from all other objects. Turn them off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  4. Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms: Test them monthly, and change the batteries when you hear that insistent chirping noise.
  5. Install Sprinklers: Residential fire sprinklers may be able to extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive.
  6. Care with Candles: Place candles at least a foot away from all objects. Extinguish them when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  7. Monitor and Maintain Appliances and Equipment: Keep washers and dryers free of lint. Don’t leave the dryer running when you leave home.
  8. Inspect Electrical Cords: Replace frayed cords and plugs that are broken, or have loose connections.
  9. Secure Matches and Lighters Away from Children: Store them in a childproof location, out of harm’s way.
  10. Fire Escape Plan: Engage your whole family in creating one. Use different scenarios, and practice it periodically. Make sure to plan for elderly family members and pets in the process.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly during this holiday season, but be sure to keep all decorations away from any heat source. Pay special attention to the holiday cooking on your stove. Make sure there is water in the base of your live Christmas tree, and don’t leave the tree lights on unattended. Place holiday lights and or candles away from decorations. Remember to turn off holiday lights at night when you won’t be awake to monitor them.

Fighting fire proactively with the tools you always have on hand: common sense, vigilance, and education, can ensure the happy longevity of your cherished family and home.  The laughter of your loved ones living safely inside is ample reward for your awareness.

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