Put a FREEZE on winter fires
During the winter months, we tend to spend more time at home with our family and loved ones. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season. Heating, cooking, decorations and candles — all contribute to an increased risk. Follow these five important fire safety tips to make sure your family and home are protected from winter fire hazards.
Be cautious of space heaters
1 in every 7 home fires involves heating equipment. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires. When using a space heater, it should be placed a minimum of three feet away from anything flammable such as bedding, clothing and curtains. Plug portable heaters directly into wall outlets.
Never use an extension cord or power strip. Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off. This will allow the heater to shut-off automatically if it tips over. Never store clothing on or around the unit. Avoid using electric heaters in bathrooms or other areas where water is frequently used. Remember to always have a three-foot kid-free zone around space heaters as well.
Practice candle safety
More than 1/3 of home decoration fires are started by candles. When burning candles for festive lighting, keep them at least 12 inches from anything flammable. Never leave them unattended and always place them out of reach from children. Make it a routine to check that all flames are extinguished before you go to bed or leave the room.
Play it safe in the kitchen
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home injuries. The primary cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended stovetops and ovens. If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, be sure to check it regularly, remain in the kitchen and use a timer for reminders. When cooking for longer periods of time, don’t forget to use the exhaust fan or vent above your stove to help prevent carbon monoxide (CO) from collecting inside your home.
Having fire extinguishers – and knowing how to use them – is an important part of maintaining a safe home for you and your family. When seconds count, having a fire extinguisher nearby is crucial for rapid response. Fire extinguishers should be stored where they are easily accessible and in key rooms where there is a higher risk for fires such as the kitchen and garage. For general protection, it’s best to select a multi-rated fire extinguisher. A multi-rated fire extinguisher is capable of handling most household fires.
Prepare an exit plan
Get everyone together in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. You should establish two exits in each room. You can use emergency escape ladders to exit through windows in case the primary escape route is blocked. Remember to regularly practice your fire escape plan with your family.
As you stay cozy and warm this winter, be fire smart and keep in mind to learn today to live tomorrow.
Photos courtesy Pixabay.com
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Jaracz Swain is the founder of Safety NET, LLC. He is a retired Firefighter/EMT of 21 years with the Louisville, KY fire department. The same passion that led him to become a firefighter, led him to develop Safety NET where he teaches the skills needed to help save lives. In his spare time, he loves to play golf and relax at the beach.
For onsite CPR and first aid training, visit the Safety NET website, their Facebook page, or call 704-493-6663.
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