Deaths from fires and burns are the fifth most common cause of unintentional injury deaths in the United States (CDC 2005) and the third leading cause of fatal home injury (Runyan 2004). The United States mortality rate from fires ranks fourth among the 25 developed countries for which statistics are available (USFA 2007).

Although the number of fatalities and injuries caused by residential fires has declined gradually over the past several decades, many fire-related deaths remain preventable.

  • Install Smoke Detectors
    Make sure smoke detectors are approved by a recognized laboratory, install detectors close to all sleeping areas, and consider multiple detectors in buildings with more than one level. Test each unit frequently and replace old batteries to ensure that all units are operational.

  • Have an Escape Plan
    Plan two different exits from all rooms and choose a remote meeting spot for occupants to gather in the event of a fire. Building evacuation should be practiced at different times of day to make sure that all parties are prepared for an emergency exit.

  • Check Insulation
    Have your building's electrical system checked and correct any deficiencies before installing insulation. Always keep insulation away from light fixtures and other sources of heat and check to make sure that your insulation complies with local fire and building codes.

  • Keep Furnaces Clean
    Inspect and clean flues or chimneys on a regular basis to prevent build-ups. A clog in the airflow from your furnace could cause a fire or the accumulation of carbon monoxide in your building.

  • Use Caution with Outlets
    Repair any worn or frayed electrical cords and do not overload outlets. Do not run extension cords under rugs and carpets or looped over nails or other sharp objects. Use bulbs with wattage at or below the maximum prescribed by light fixture manufacturers. Allow plenty of air space around appliances like televisions, microwaves and computers to prevent overheating.

  • Be Vigilant with Space Heaters
    All space heaters should be kept at least 36 inches from anything flammable and should never be left on in an empty room or overnight. Always supervise children and pets when in the presence of an operating space heater. Most importantly, always read and follow manufacturer's instructions.

  • Practice Fire Safety
    If you smoke in your home, never do so in bed and always take proper care when disposing of ashes. Empty ashtrays often to avoid hazardous build-up of flammable materials and douse before emptying into the trash. Keep lighters and matches out of reach of small children. In high-rise buildings, only smoke where permitted.

  • Cook with Care
    Do not install curtains or towel racks close to the stove. Keep the stove and oven clean from grease and oil. When cooking, wear form-fitting garments because loose sleeves can catch fire. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen (2A10BC minimum recommended by many fire departments). When grilling, never use gasoline and do not add any lighter fluid once the fire is started. *Attention First-time Parents* When sterilizing baby bottles/nipples on the stovetop, keep a careful eye on the pot. If water boils off, the rubber becomes susceptible to flame and rubber can melt or ignite.

  • Check Clothes Dryers
    Keep dryer in clean and working condition to prevent fires. Always keep lint trap cleaned and do not exceed contents recommended by manufacturer. Exhaust hot air safely to the outside of the building.

  • Storing Combustibles
    Store gasoline and other flammable materials in tight metal containers. Do not use these materials near heat or a pilot. Keep oily, greasy rags in a sealed, labeled, non-glass container. To avoid spontaneous combustion, do not store newspapers or other rubbish in a damp, warm or confined space.

Being informed and well prepared are the best ways to improve your chances of recovering from disaster. Advanced Fire & Flood offers a variety of informative presentations and continuing education seminars tailored to meet your specific educational needs.

Contact us now to learn more.


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