Tuesday, February 24, 2015

5 Common Fire Causes and Safety Tips

image courtesy of Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Cold weather finds people spending more time at home, and more time indoors increases the risks of house fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report that there are more than 350,000 home structure fires annually. Frighteningly, once started, it takes less than two minutes for a fire to complete engulf a structure, which is why it is so important to evacuate inhabitants as quickly as possible and to discourage efforts to extinguish large fires by occupants themselves. Below are 5 of the most common causes of house fires, as identified by the NFPA, along with safety tips to help avoid these tragedies:

1. Cooking Fires
  • Safety tips:
    • Pay attention when cooking and never leave food unattended.
    • Never throw water on a grease fire, put a lid on the pan to smother the fire.
    • If an oven fire flares up, turn it off and leave the door shut until the fire extinguishes itself.
    • Keep clothing, pot holders, paper towels, napkins and other flammable items away from fires.
    • Be certain smoke detectors are in working order and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
2. Candles
  • Safety tips:
    • Never leave a candle burning near flammable items, or in an unoccupied room.
    • Make sure candles fit securely into candle holders so they don’t tip over.
    • Extinguish all candles before leaving a room or going to sleep.
3. Electrical Fires
  • Safety tips:
    • Never overload outlets or electrical cords, and be certain to use the proper cord for the job (i.e. inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use).
    • Never leave holiday lights, trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.
4. Smoking
  • Safety tips:
    • Smoke outside when possible.
    • Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.
    • Never smoke in bed or on other soft furniture, when you’re tired or around medical oxygen.
5. Toddlers and Young Children Playing With Fire
  • Safety tips:
    • Always keep matches, lighters, etc. out of the reach of children.
    • Teach children fire safety at an early age.
    • Do not leave children unsupervised around fire.

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