Despite modern safety measures, devices and building techniques, fires still present a very real danger for homeowners/families. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 358,500 home structure fires per year during 2011 2015, resulting in thousands of injuries, scores of deaths, and billions in property damage. Therefore, it is vital to keep fire prevention and evacuation strategies active and up to date. This month we celebrate Fire Prevention Week, it’s a great reminder to complete an annual checkup of your family fire strategy.
A Long History of Fire Prevention Measures
Fire Prevention Week began in 1922 and has been observed ever since, making it “the longest running public health and safety observance on record” The dates coincide with the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed much if the city. Officials thought the anniversary of the fire was a good opportunity to remind people about the importance of fire safety.
Common Causes of House Fires
Cooking – getting distracted in the kitchen and leaving the stove/oven unattended can cause a fire very easily. Always stay in the room and keep a fire extinguisher near to help prevent these types of fires
Heating – get your furnace and/or chimney inspected by a qualified inspector yearly, keep portable heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that could easily catch fire, make sure that laundry vents are cleaned and unobstructed
Smoking – if you are a smoker it is always best for fire safety and also indoor air quality to smoke outside the house and dispose of cigarette butts in appropriate containers
Electrical appliances – check all appliance power cords for frayed cords and do not overload extension cords, adapters, receptacles, etc
Candles – do not leave candles unattended and keep them away from flammable sources when lit
Children – teach children about the dangers of playing with fire, keep matches and lighters out of reach of children, and install smoke alarms in each child’s room
Faulty wiring – some signs of bad wiring include lights dim if you use another appliance, you need to disconnect one appliance for another to work, fuses blow or breakers trip frequently – have a licensed electrician inspect your house for needed repairs and upgrades
Barbeques – check gas connections for possible leaks and keep outdoor grills away from exterior walls and anything else that could be flammable such as tablecloths, napkins, etc.