Fire Prevention Week: Protect Your Family From Fire

October 11, 2011

The West U Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association this week during Fire Prevention Week.

This year’s campaign focuses on preventing the leading causes of home fires: cooking, heating and electrical equipment, and candles and smoking materials. Additionally, it urges people to protect their families and homes with life-saving technology and planning.

In 2009, 2,565 people died in home fires. Nearly all of these deaths could have been prevented by taking a few simple precautions like installing working smoke alarms, making a home fire escape plan, keeping things that can burn away from the stove and always turning off space heaters before going to bed. Fire is a dangerous opponent, but by anticipating the hazards, it’s much less likely to be one of the nearly 13,000 people injured in home fires each year.

The West U Fire Department offers the following tips for preventing fires and fire-related injuries:

• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, woodstove or portable space heater.

• Have a three-foot “child-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

• Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.

• If you smoke, smoke outside.

• If you smoke inside, use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table.

• Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.

While preventing fires is always the number one priority, it is not always possible. Residents need to provide the best protection for their homes and families in the event of a fire. First and foremost, develop an escape plan that you practice regularly and equip your home with life-saving technologies like smoke alarms and sprinklers.

The following tips will help keep families safe if there is a fire in the home:

• Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home (including the basement).

• Interconnect all smoke alarms in the home so when one sounds, they all sound.

• Test smoke alarms at least monthly and replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old, or sooner if they do not respond when tested.

• Make sure everyone in your home knows how to respond if the smoke alarm sounds.

• Involve everyone in your household escape plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible ways out. If you have children, consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors, for the children to see.

• If you are building or remodeling your home, consider installing home fire sprinklers.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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