According to the United States Fire Administration, 58 civilian home fire fatalities were reported by U.S. news media between Jan. 1, and Jan. 10, 2017, Test your smoke alarm today!
It's safe to say that many of these fires and deaths could have been avoided. Some were caused by improperly disposing of fireplace and wood stove ashes. At least one was caused by smoking in bed.
Homeowners should plan on doing the following to avoid house fires and injuries and deaths associated with house fires.
(1) Test all smoke alarms, and make sure you have enough smoke alarms for the amount of rooms that are in the house.
(2) Install at least 2 carbon monoxide / smoke dector combos.
(3) Have your chimneys and duct work inspected and cleaned.
(4) Make sure any wood stove installations are done properly and to code.
(5) Check your dryer vent and clean / remove lint.
(6) Avoid smoking in the house. Remove all ash trays from bedrooms.
(7) Avoid using candles.
(8) Keep all lighters, matches, and candles out of reach of children.
(9) Use a metal container to remove ashes from fireboxes and woodstoves. Do not store them in garage or on deck.
(10) Never run a generator inside of your garage or basement.
(11) Do a walk thru, and remove any clutter that would be in your path if you needed to escape a fire in the dark. Keeping a flash light on upper levels is a good idea.
(12) Do a trial run fire escape with everyone in the house. Meet outside in a designated area.
(13) If you are awaken by a smoke alarm. Diall 911 and set the phone down. Then make sure all people and pets are out and accounted for. Then use your cell phone or go to a neighbors house and call 911 again.
(14) If you store gas, lawn equipment with gas in the tanks, propane tanks, ammunition inside of house, alert the fire dept when they arrive.
(15) If you use additional space heaters, keep anything that is combustionable 2-3' away from the heaters. Bedding, clothes, curtains, etc. It's fairly simple to check batteries in smoke alarms, but it takes a little more effort to make your fire safe. Remember, your local fire dept is usually willing to help. Don't hesitate to stop and check with them.
Jeff Pearl | Lic in VA
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