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Teaching Fire Safety

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There are general fire safety precautions everyone should follow, regardless of where they live.  Taking the time to review these fire safety precautions can help you create a safer and more secure living environment for you and your family.  There are several fire safety steps homeowners need to follow to keep those fires safely burning.  Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility.  Responsible homeowners know it’s not a question of luck.  It’s a matter of planning ahead.

There are many simple steps you can take as a homeowner to make sure everyone in your home knows how to prevent and escape a fire

There are many simple steps you can take as a homeowner to make sure everyone in your home knows how to prevent and escape a fire

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes.  Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks when heating with wood and solid fuels.  More than 3,400 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 17,500 are injured.  An overwhelming number of fires occur in the home.

Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year.  Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes.  All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.  Having your chimney and/or stovepipe cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist can help to remove these potentially fatal creosote deposits before it’s too late.  Another common mistake made by homeowners is placing decorations on and around the hearth area.  Sure, your wicker baskets from Crate and Barrel may look cute sitting on the hearth, but they are one floating ember away from giving a whole new meaning to the term fireside basket.

Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm on each floor and in the kitchen.  You can buy a smoke alarm at any hardware, discount or big-box store.  You can consider it inexpensive protection for you and your family.  You should install one on every level of your home.  Working smoke alarms can double your chances of survival.  You should test it monthly, keep it free of dust and replace the batteries at least once a year.  Most smoke alarms today have a life span of anywhere from eight to ten years, after which the entire unit should be replaced.

All homeowners should also consider investing in a good fire extinguisher.  In order to get the most proverbial bang for your buck, it is best to buy a multipurpose fire extinguisher for use in your home.  For example, one labeled “A-B-C” combines the abilities of three different extinguishers in one canister—Class A (fires involving ordinary combustible materials), Class B (fires involving flammable liquids), and Class C (electrical fires).  This would be a great extinguisher to keep in a centralized location in your home.

Teaching everyone in your home about fire safety and prevention can be one of the most important things you will ever do as a homeowner.  Children are taught about the dangers of fire in school, but they rarely learn about these dangers in their home environment.  Fire safety awareness will instill a sense of responsibility in everyone in your home and can also save their lives.  We wish you a happy and safe heating season.