Fire prevention week is October 3-9 2010. There are many preventative measures we can take to prevent fires and many safety precautions we can take if faced with the unthinkable. Here are some tips to practice during National Fire Prevention Week.
When was the last time you checked your smoke alarm to make sure it was working properly? This year “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!” is the theme of the National Fire Prevention Association. According to the NFPA report, “almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without sounding smoke alarms.” Thus, check your batteries and test your alarm to make sure it is working. Also, replace your smoke alarms every ten years and the batteries every year. Smoke alarms should be “in every bedroom outside each sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement.” Another tip is to “interconnect” all alarms so that they will all sound together.
From faulty wiring to overloaded outlets, there are many fire hazards associated with electricity. According to indepmo.org, make sure your electrical wiring was installed properly and that equipment has the UL or American Gas Association label. Also, check to see if 15 amp fuses for your household lighting circuits. Finally, make sure that extension cords are not run under rugs or over hooks.
Of course, be careful when using candles. Taper candles are the most dangerous because they can easily fall or catch something on fire. Also, make sure you don’t have paper towels, rags or curtains too close to any flame source. Keep your house free of combustibles. This means piles of clothes, papers or debris. Clean out your rain gutters, rake up those leaves and clear away dried brush. And, of course, don’t play with matches.
Practice Fire Drill
Fire drills are important, especially if you have kids. When doing a fire drill, go over all possible escape routes. Teach kids to carefully touch doorknobs with the back of their hand before opening. If they feel a warm door or knob, it’s time to choose another route. Also, have a meeting place that is far enough away from the house, like the mailbox. October 2nd is National Family Fire Drill Day. Make it a point to schedule a fire drill in your home.
Over the last ten years, I have seen Southern California hit by a number of disastrous fires. Although my house has never been in eminent danger, there have been roaring fires less than a mile from my home. In addition, schools I have worked at have been shut down due to safety and health issues. There is nothing sadder than seeing the destruction of the fires, the charred landscapes and the ravished homes left behind. This year, make sure you and your family are prepared for a fire.