October is Fire Prevention Awareness month, and as the weather turns colder and the time for holiday cooking and warming your house returns, fire and burn prevention are important issues to keep in mind. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking has been the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries since 1990, with heating equipment ranked as the second leading cause for home fires and deaths. Remind yourself of these helpful tips about cooking, heating, and general fire prevention and safety to make the coming winter months a bit warmer and safer for you and your family.
In the Kitchen:
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Keep the stovetop and oven clean; grease and debris buildup can ignite easily.
- Keep stove area clear of flammable materials, including oven mitts, paper or cloth towels.
- Roll up sleeves when cooking.
- Do not place or spray aerosols near an open flame.
- Cook on back burners and turn pot handles in to prevent accidental spillage.
- Create a “kid free zone” around the stove and oven and keep hot liquids, appliance cords, and matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
- Do not cook at the stove, or eat and drink hot foods while holding a child.
- Space heaters need space – at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including furniture, drapes and rugs.
- Never leave heaters unattended.
- Store flammable materials like newspaper, kindling or wood away from stoves and fireplaces.
- Have your chimney inspected by a professional once a year and have it cleaned if necessary. Always use an approved glass or metal protective screen in front of your fireplace.
- Use only dry seasoned wood in wood stoves and fireplaces.
- Have a fire extinguisher readily available.
Smoke Detectors and Fire Escape Plans:
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and in each bedroom. Test smoke detectors monthly, following manufacturers’ instructions. Replace smoke detectors that are more than 10 years old, as their effectiveness is not guaranteed.
- Change your smoke detectors’ batteries twice a year on daylight savings, or whenever you hear a “chirp” indicating a low battery.
- Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless, colorless poisonous gas. Every home should also have at least one carbon monoxide detector.
- Prepare for an emergency by designing an escape plan with the entire family and practice your escape plan with the entire family at least twice a year.
- Remember to Stop, Drop and Roll if your clothing catches on fire.