Avoiding Home Fires
If you think your home is not at risk for a home fire, consider these statistics: 370,000 homes are struck by fires each year, some 4,000 Americans die in fires annually, and about 80 percent of these deaths occur in the home, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Knowing fire myths from facts can protect you and your loved ones from the pain of a home fire:
370,000 homes are struck by fires each year, some 4,000 Americans die in fires annually.
- 1 Myth: Smoke from fire isn’t a real danger.
- 2 Myth: Portable heaters can safely keep you warm through the night.
- 3 Myth: Flickering lights can be ignored.
- 4 Myth: Smoke alarms last a lifetime.
- 5 Myth: Homes with smoke alarms don’t need automatic fire sprinklers.
- 6 FYI
Myth: Smoke from fire isn’t a real danger.
Fact: Smoke kills more people than burns do — and it does so in a matter of minutes.
Myth: Matches, lighters, and lit tobacco products aren’t big fire culprits anymore.
Fact: Most fatal fires are from smoking material. Never smoke in bed when sleepy, and extinguish smoking materials thoroughly; ashes can smolder and start a fire.
Myth: Portable heaters can safely keep you warm through the night.
Fact: Portable heaters are meant to provide extra heat for a short time, not while you’re sleeping. Keep portable heaters 3 feet away from bedding, furniture and other combustible materials. Never leave them on while sleeping or out of the room.
Myth: Flickering lights can be ignored.
Fact: Dimming of lights, blown fuses, tripped circuit breakers, frayed cords and other electrical problems may mean you’re stretching the system’s capacity, and fire is a risk. Have them checked out by an electrician.
Myth: Smoke alarms last a lifetime.
Fact: Like other electronic devices, smoke alarms won’t last forever. Replace them every 10 years. A smoke alarm reduces the risk of dying in a fire by almost 50 percent, but nearly 1,200 children die each year in homes without working alarms.
Replace low batteries immediately and all batteries annually. Hit the “test” button each month to check the alarm. A chirp signals a low battery.
Myth: Homes with smoke alarms don’t need automatic fire sprinklers.
Fact: Alarms let you know there is a fire, but they don’t put the fire out. Residential fire sprinklers link to water pipes hidden behind the walls and ceilings and can control home fires until the fire department arrives. The cost of a home fire sprinkler system varies, but a ballpark estimate is $1.00 to $1.50 per square foot in a home being built and twice as much in an existing home.
The National Safety Council offers a few other tips for fire safety:
- Create a home escape plan and practice it.
- Wear clothes with short or snug sleeves while cooking.
- Keep combustible materials away from heat sources.
- Have professionals check your fireplace and furnace annually and clean them if necessary.
- Don’t overload electrical circuits.
- In case of fire, don’t try to save your possessions — leave your home immediately.
Sources: National Safety Council
Here’s how to organize getting smoke detectors in homes.
There’s more helpful info on this site. Make sure to read it.
These folks are are constantly on the lookout for unsafe conditions that can cause home fires.
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