Causes Of Fires & Prevention

One of the top causes of fire is improperly disposed of smoking materials. Never smoke in bed or when you are tired. Be sure to put smoking out in ashtrays and do not empty the receptacles until they are cold. Check for smoldering cigarettes. If you've had a party, check all the cushions in the chairs and other furniture, rugs and curtains before going to bed. A smoldering cigarette in a sofa may not be detectable by smell or smoke for a few hours.

The stove is another major cause of domestic fires, burns and other accidents. Pots, pans and other utensils may be knocked over by children. Do not leave the handles over the sides of the stove. Adults as well as tots may be burned by accidental tippage. Do not let children cook unsupervised. Keep flammable material away from the stove as well. Do not cook with loose or baggy night clothing on. Never fry bacon in the nude!! DO NOT USE FLOUR OR WATER ON A GREASE FIRE. If there is a grease fire, carefully place the lid on the pot and turn off the burner. Do not store anything in the oven or broiler. Never use metal or foil in a microwave unless the manufacturer says it is designed for it. Remove staples and the metal handles from cardboard containers when using a microwave or a fire may occur. Only use your microwave to cook. NEVER leave the house with anything cooking, even the coffee pot. Turn off all appliances before leaving. Do not use a stove or oven as a space heater. This depletes the oxygen in the house and replaces it with Carbon Monoxide.

Most electrical fires are caused by broken appliances, bad wiring and overloaded circuits. If an appliance smokes or smells like it is burning, unplug it and have it repaired. If the electircal cords if they are cracked or frayed have them replaced. If there is an arc in an outlet, call 911. If use extension cords to power appliances use the proper gauge (size) for the item being powered and the location. Do not put a larger amp fuse in a circuit than it calls for. If the circuit breaker continually pops or the proper fuse continues to blow, call an electrician to find the short in the circuit or add an additional circuit to carry the load. Do not use pennys, copper pipe, or any other foreign conductor in a fuse box.

Check your furnace and fireplace once each year. Change the filter once each month. Do not place fireplace ash or barbecues in anything other than a metal container and keep it outside away from your home. Keep a fireplace screen over the fireplace opening. Store combustible material 4 feet or more away from the furnace, hot water heater, space heater or fireplace. Keep Christmas trees far from the fireplace and heaters. Portable heaters should be kept at least 3 feet away from curtains, furniture or anything else that can burn. Keep your children and pets away from the heaters. Always turn the heater off when leaving the house or going to sleep. Check the hot water heater. It should not be set above 120 degrees if there are small children in the house. Check the temperature of the water before getting into the tub and never use electrical devices while in water.

Children cause fires! Matches and lighters and flammable materials should be kept away from children. Teach children that when they find a lighter or matches they should give them to an adult. Use child-proof lighters. If you get a chemistry set for your child, make sure you check the ingredients and the recipes in the directions. Some sets may ask for a flame from an alcohol lamp to mix, and a child may decide to experiment

Improper Storage is another cause. Flammable materials, such as propane, gasoline, etc. should be stored outside in a safe detached building in proper containers. Never use flammable materials around furnaces, water heaters, cigarettes or an open flame. Never try to vaccuum up flammable material.

In Case of Trouble

If a fire breaks out get out of the house. You should have a predetermined escape plan and practice it. Have a place to meet outside. Count heads. Noone can go back in the building for any reason! Call 911. If you must exit through smoke, crawl low to get the best air and avoid the hottest air. If you are trapped in a high-rise building, call 911, stay on the line and tell them where you are. The firefighters will come and get you.

If your clothes catch fire, STOP! DROP! AND ROLL! Do not run. In case of a burn, put the wound in cool water for 10 to 15 minutes. If the burn blisters or chars, see a doctor.

Warning Devices

Have a working Underwriter's Labeled smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in you home. There should be one on each level there are sleeping areas at a minimum. One in each bedroom and every floor is a small investment for maximum protection. Change the batteries regularly. Daylight savings time is suggested by many people as it is easy to remember.

For commercial and high occupancy residential building you may want to consider installing emergency backup lighting for when there is a power failure. An emergency light is designed to come on when the power goes out to illuminate escape routes other safety equipment.