Fire Prevention In The Home
What You Do Can Save Your Life
by Ruby Aragon
The National Fire Protection Association reports that in 2003 there were 3925
deaths due to house fires. Furthermore, in the United States, someone dies in a
fire every 134 minutes. Sadly, while children under the age of five make up only
nine percent of the population, they make up seventeen percent of fire deaths.
These statistics are downright frightening, but the good news is that there are
ways to prevent this from happening to your family.
Be aware of potentially harmful objects in your home. There are everyday objects
in most homes that are true fire hazards - clothes dryers, furnaces, space
heaters, fire places and appliances. To reduce the risk of these items, stay
aware of when they are in use and monitor them carefully. For example, don't
start a load of laundry in the dryer and then leave the house to run errands.
Turn off the dryer or stay home until the load is finished. Also, if you notice
a strange smell coming from a small appliance in the kitchen, there may be a
fault in the wiring. Unplug it immediately and do not use it until it has been
Bring fire into the home only under the strictest supervision. Wood burning
fireplaces and furnaces are a great treat in the cold winter months, but it's
important to remember that by using these items you are welcoming fire into your
home. Do so only under strict supervision and make sure that the furnace or
fireplace is up to code. It's important to have all components of your wood
burner inspected yearly including the chimney.
Candles are also dangerous. In fact, misuse of candles cause around two percent
of all fires. It's not necessary to ban candles from your home, however, just
use caution when lighting them. Trim the wicks and keep the flame away from
flammable substances and drafts.
Clutter is bad. One of the best ways to reduce fire in your home is to reduce
the amount of clutter. This means keeping the garage or shop organized because
there are often many flammable substances in garages from gasoline and oil to
paint and painting supplies. Dust and sawdust can also help fuel a fire when
there is a large build-up in the garage or attic.
Plan your escape route. Keeping corridors and exits clear of clutter is also a
safety factor. If there would be a fire in your home, you'll want the exits
clear and open to help you and your family exit as quickly and as smoothly as
possible - during fires, the amount of smoke can make it difficult to see
obstacles. You'll also want to make sure there are two exits from every room in
the house, especially bedrooms. This may require you to have fire ladders
stashed in each room so that you can use second and third story windows as
Taking the proper steps to prevent fires in your home as well as preparing your
potential exits will help you not only protect your house and your family, but
also better ensure a safe escape if there ever is a fire.