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Preventing House Fires

house on fire


It's a hot summer.  In many parts of the country, wildfires are still burning out of control, destroying homes and scorching thousands of acres of wild land.  There has never been a better time to take stock of your fire preparedness and prevention.  Is your home safe?


Each year, fire claims the lives of 3,400 Americans and injures approximately 17,500. Many if not most of these fires can be prevented by following a few simple tips or guidelines.


There are some things many people may not realize are fire hazards and many we already know, but it always pays to make sure your home is as safe as possible. Here is a list of key tips and things to double-check for your family's safety:


1.  Appliances


kitchen fire


* Do not trap electric cords against walls where heat can build up.  Take extra care when using portable heaters.  Keep bedding, clothes, curtains and other combustible items at least three feet away from space heaters.


* Do not trap electric cords against walls where heat can build up.


* Only use lab-approved electric blankets and warmers.  Check to make sure the cords are not frayed.


2. Bedrooms


* Never smoke in bed


* Replace mattresses made before the 2007 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard.  Mattresses made since then are required by law to be safer.


3. Candles




* Consider using battery-operated or electric flameless candles and fragrance warmers.


* If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders.


* Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas.


* Extinguish candles before going to bed.


* Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.


* Children should never be allowed to play with matches, lighters or candles.


* Never use a candle where medical oxygen is being used. The two can combine to create a large, unexpected fire.


* Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.


* Never put candles on a Christmas tree.


* When using in home worship, don't place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them, or pass handheld candles from one person to another. To lower the risk of fire, candles should be used by only a few designated adults.


* NEVER leave burning candles unattended


4. Electrical


* Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.


* Buy only appliances that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.


* Major and small appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.


* 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.


* Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection.


* Keep clothes, curtains, and other items that can catch fire at least three feet from all portable electric space heaters.


* Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture.


* Electrical work should be done only by a qualified electrician.


You can find all of these fire prevention tips on the websites of United States Fire Administration (FEMA) or National Fire Prevention Association.


Finally, make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home.


smoke alarm


Be Prepared for Life. Learn more about Fire Safety.

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