Material Excerpted From: Disasters & Emergencies – Home Fires
Home fires can be preventable. The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.
• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. Turn off the stove if you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time.
• Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
• Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
• Keep a fire extinguisher available.
Electrical and Appliance Safety
• Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
• If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
• Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
Keeping Children Safe
• Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
• Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
• Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.
Fireplaces and Woodstoves
• Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
• Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
• Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
Portable Space Heaters
• Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
• Only buy heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
• Check to make sure the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
• Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room away from curtains and other flammable items.
More Fire Prevention Tips
• Never use a stove range or oven to heat your home.
• Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
• Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors and in well-ventilated areas.
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