National Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, National Fire Prevention Week (NFPW) has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. This year NFPW will be observed from October 9 – October 15. To recognize this important week of awareness we’ve sourced the following 15 Fire Prevention & Safety Tips Too Important To Ignore…
- CLEAN THE CHIMNEY, the leading factor contributing to heating system fires is failure to clean, this usually involves creosote build-up. Have your chimneys, fireplaces, wood stoves and central furnace serviced annually. If you have a fireplace, use a screen to block airborne embers and have the chimney cleaned once a year to prevent creosote buildup that can quickly ignite a fire.
- Place space heaters at least 3 feet away from other objects. Always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Place at least one SMOKE DETECTOR on every floor, and in or near every bedroom AND
- CHECK THE BATTERIES When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead. Half of home fire deaths result from fires between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. If someone in your home is deaf or hard of hearing, consider installing an alarm that combines flashing lights, vibration and sound.
- Consider installing a sprinkler system, it can increase property value and lower your insurance rates.
- HAVE A PLAN Create multiple escape plans and practice them with your family. Your plans should include escape routes from different areas of the house, tools for exiting the building (escape ladders, items to open, break out windows) and a designated meeting place. It’s very important to practice fire safety with kids; be sure to familiarize your children with the sounds of the alarm(s).
- Keep roll-out ladders near windows above the first floor for a safe escape in case of fire.
- TEACH CHILDREN Take the mystery out of fire by teaching your children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Younger than five are naturally curious about fire, many play with matches and lighters.
- NEVER LEAVE BURNING CANDLES UNATTENDED. On average, there are 29 home candle fires reported each day in the U.S. Keep candles away from combustible materials, upholstery and window coverings; use only on solid, flat surfaces. Use sturdy holders; keep candles away from children and pets. Rather than burning real candles, try battery-operated ones instead.
- DO NOT OVERLOAD CIRCUITS or extension cords. Do not place wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. Use one surge protector per wall outlet to protect your electrical system and electronics. Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in all electrical receptacles in kitchens, bathrooms and wet areas. Use safety caps to cover unused outlets to protect children.
- Don’t smoke in bed, smokers should always extinguish cigarettes in a fireproof ashtray located away from all combustible materials—better yet, don’t smoke at all!
- WATCH THAT POT! Don’t leave a hot stove while cooking. Stay in the kitchen, and avoid multitasking while cooking. Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires; two of every five home fires start in the kitchen. Keep cooking appliances away from combustibles such as paper, cloth towels and packaging materials.
- Keep a WORKING FIRE EXTINGUISHER on every level of your home and in the kitchen. They should have an ABC rating, making them usable for all types of fires. Replace extinguishers as often as the manufacturer recommends.
- Keep grills, cookers and fryers at least 3 feet away from your house and shrubs or bushes. Store gasoline in a garage or shed in a container approved for gasoline storage. Close the lid on all flammable products and store in a safe well-ventilated place when not in use.
- Protect irreplaceable items and important documents in a safe that has an Underwriters Laboratory Rating of 125 or above.
Content Source Credits: Nationwide Insurance, FEMA.GOV, National Fire Prevention Week, iii.org