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Preventing fire is just as important as knowing what to do in case there is a fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Assocation
- In 2003, 80% of fires in the United States occurred in the home, resulting in 3,925 fire deaths.
- In the U.S., someone dies from a home fire roughly every 134 minutes.
- In Canada, someone is fatally injured in a home fire roughly every 31 hours.
- Roughly half of all home fire deaths in the U.S. resulted from fires that were reported between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. But only one-quarter of home fires occur between those hours.
- Although children five and under make up about 9% of the country's population, they accounted for 17% of the home fire deaths.
- Smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths overall, but in the months of December, January and February, smoking and heating equipment caused similar shares of fire deaths.
- Every 20 seconds, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the nation.
Smoke is responsible for three out of four deaths.
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and outside of sleeping areas.
- Test every detector at least once a month. [See your instruction book for the location of the test button.]
- Keep smoke detectors dust free. Replace batteries with new ones at least once a year, or sooner if the detector makes a chirping sound.
- If you have a smoke detector directly wired into your electrical system, be sure that the little signal light is blinking periodically. This tells you that the alarm is active.
- Inexpensive smoke detectors are available for the hearing impaired.
They remain your best bet if you're on the spot when a fire begins.
- Fire extinguishers should be mounted in the kitchen, garage, and workshop.
- Purchase an ABC type extinguisher for extinguishing all types of fires.
- Learn how to use your fire extinguisher before there is an emergency.
- Remember, use an extinguisher on small fires only. If there is a large fire, get out immediately and call 911 from another location.
As with other things, the best motto is, "Be Prepared."
- Prepare a floor plan of your home showing at least two ways out of each room.
- Sleep with your bedroom door closed. In the event of fire, it helps to hold back heat and smoke. But if a door feels hot, do not open it; escape through another door or window.
- Easy-to-use window escape ladders are available through many catalogues and outlet stores. For instance, First Alert sells one for around $90.
- Agree on a fixed location out-of-doors where family members are to gather for a head count.
- Stay together away from the fire. Call 911 from another location. Make certain that no one goes back inside the burning building.
- Check corridors and stairways to make sure they are free of obstructions and combustibles.
- To help cut down on the need for an emergency exit in the first place, clear all unnecessary items from the attic, basement, garage, and closets.
October 18th, 2010 9:01 PM CDT