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Unseen Fire hazards in the Home

posted Apr 6, 2014, 9:21 AM by Troy LaPare

If you have ever witnessed a fire, you have seen the damage these can cause. Even if parts of the Home can be saved the smoke water and psychological damage can be immense.

According to the CDC, four out of five deaths resulting from a fire happen in the home. According to the National Safety Council, most of these deaths could be avoided if smoke detectors were properly installed and regularly maintained in the kitchen, stairwells, and near each bedroom. Check the batteries at least yearly to make sure they work.

The American Red Cross reports that 80 percent of all deaths due to fire take place when the family is sleeping. The cause is not the fire itself, but rather smoke inhalation and lack of oxygen. In addition, the fire may trigger the release of poisonous chemicals in upholstery, plastic material, and draperies.

No matter who built your home or what materials constructed of, no house is fireproof, but you can do a great deal to prevent home fires:

  • If there are children in the home, lock up matches and cigarette lighters.
  • Don't hang potholders or dishtowels over the burners on the stove. Store them away from the stovetop.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Never leave home or go to bed with your Christmas tree lights on.
  • Never use a higher watt lightbulb than a lamp manufacturer suggests.
  • Use salt or soda to put out a grease fire in your kitchen; never throw water on it.
  • Have an established family escape route and have regular fire drills. If your house has more than one story, keep a fire safety ladder under each bed. Plan ahead where you'll all meet outside.
  • Teach your family the American Red Cross rule if their clothes ever catch on fire: Stop running, Drop to the ground, and Roll over to put out the flames.
  • Keep papers, curtains, and other flammable material away from hot radiators, portable heaters, and lighted fireplaces.
  • Make sure that your child's sleepwear is flame resistant, and wash it according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Be very careful with portable kerosene heaters. Use them only when you are in the room; turn them off any time you leave the room.
  • For homes with children, put up guards around space heaters, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves.
  • Don't overload circuits by putting too many plugs in an outlet.
  • have a Home Inspector or Electrician check you electrical panel for proper gauge wire for each circuit in your home and check the panel for its age. Check out this excellent website for more on this; http://www.ismypanelsafe.com/
  • For lamps or small appliances, don't use extension cords that dangle and can be pulled. Children can pull the appliance down and injure themselves as well as start a fire.
  • Don't let your children play with firecrackers or any type of explosives.
  • Buy fire extinguishers, and learn how to use them. Place them where they are most likely to be needed, such as the kitchen. Check periodically to be sure they are in good working order.
  • Clean out your laundry vent every six months with a vacuum cleaner and make sure it is made of metal, NOT plastic.
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