This week is Fire Prevention Week, which gives us an opportunity to discuss the causes of fires and how to prevent them. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is working to help people develop an escape plan in case of a fire through this year’s theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out.”
According to the NFPA, fire departments responded to roughly 365,000 home structure fires in 2015. These fires resulted in 2,560 deaths, 11,975 injuries and $7 billion in damage. Sadly, seven people die every day in the U.S. due to house fires.
Every Second Counts
Because every second counts when a fire occurs, the NFPA is urging families to come up with an escape plan in case of a fire. If a fire does occur in your home, your biggest priority should be getting yourself and everyone else out of the house. When a fire starts in your house, you only have two minutes to get out of the house. Trying to fight the fire yourself instead of getting out of the house and calling 911 could be very dangerous. In fact, more than half of people who were injured in home fires involving cooking equipment suffered injuries while trying to fight the fire themselves.
The NFPA recommends drawing up an escape plan that includes two possible exits from each room. Families should practice their fire drill twice a year, preferably one at night and one during the day. Parents should teach children who are old enough how to escape on their own in case you are unable to help them.
What Are the Main Causes of Home Fires?
The NFPA reports that unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fire injuries. Frying poses the greatest risk of starting a home fire. Heating equipment is the second most common cause. Others include lit candles, improper cigarette disposal and electrical malfunctions.
Smoke alarms are the best defense against home fire deaths. Unfortunately, three out of five of these deaths from 2010-2014 occurred in homes without working smoke alarms. Functioning smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
10 Tips for Fire Prevention and Preparedness
Make sure you have working smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be inspected every six months to ensure they are working properly. You should also test your smoke alarm once a month using the test button.
Teach everyone in your home what the smoke alarm means and how to respond if it goes off. Everyone should know at least two ways to escape from every room of the house. Your family should also have a safe spot to meet in case of a fire.
Never leave pots or pans on the stove unattended.
Keep your kitchen fire extinguisher on hand, and make sure you know how to use it properly.
Make sure your stove and oven are clean, as built up food and grease can be a fire hazard.
Check electrical cords in your home for fraying, and replace any that appear hazardous. Also make sure you are not covering your electrical cords or overloading your circuits by plugging in too many cords.
Have your dryer vent cleaned out regularly, and always clean out your dryer’s lint filter after using it.
Have your home’s chimney inspected every year, and make sure it is cleaned regularly.
If you are using a fireplace, only use seasoned wood for your fires. Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or trees in the fireplace.
If you use a space heater, be sure to keep it away from furniture, curtains and other objects that could catch fire. It is also best to use a new space heater with advanced safety features, as older ones are more likely to pose a fire hazard.
You might assume that house fires are not all that common and you don’t need to worry for your safety. The reality, however, is that one in every 338 households report a home fire each year. This amounts to thousands of house fires every year, meaning everyone should be prepared for a fire and practicing preventative measures.
“Everyone should take fire safety seriously and develop an escape plan to ensure their family is safe in case of an emergency,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.
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DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.
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