NATIONAL FIRE PREVENTION MONTH
October is National Fire Prevention Month and that means it’s time for us all to take the precautionary steps to prevent dangerous and life-threatening fires.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, the winter months see an increase in home fires, deaths and injuries. These are the months when we turn on the heat to keep our homes warm. While we need to keep our homes warm, there are steps we should take to prevent a fire.
- Make sure your heating source is well maintained. Whether it’s a fireplace, wood stove, a furnace or electric heat, check the equipment before using or have them serviced.
- Don’t store items near your heating source. Boxes, clothes, and other fuels may ignite if they are close.
- Make sure draperies and furniture and other combustible items are kept far enough away from a heating source.
Other causes of fire include:
- Kitchen – It’s important to not leave burners or grills unattended. Make sure to use proper equipment and to keep dish towels, clothing and other items away from heating elements and open flame. Keep pets secured away from the kitchen, especially when you’re not home. They can inadvertently turn on burners.
- Candles – Never leave a burning candle unattended. As an alternative, use battery-operated candles for ambiance.
- Smoking – Unattended cigarettes or overly full ashtrays start fires. Curious children might play with matches or lighters. Keep them well out of their reach.
More National Fire Prevention Month tips
When it comes to keeping our families and homes safe, there are many other steps we can take to prevent fires.
Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Place a fire detector every level of the home and test them monthly. Replace batteries annually.
Get a fire extinguisher and make sure it’s not outdated. Most fire extinguishers have an expiration date. Place one on each floor of the house and in the garage, too. They truly are a lifesaver. We recently had a grease fire and the only thing that kept us from an uncontrollable fire was the fire extinguisher that we had handy. Flames shooting up from your stove or grill are a frightening experience, but you can avoid disaster! It’s also important to know how to use one.
The National Safety Council recommends this acronym, PASS to remember the steps.
- Pull the pin.
- Aim low at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle slowly.
- Sweep the nozzle side to side.
Have an escape plan. Practice fire drills with your family and make sure everyone knows where to go depending on where the fire is in the home. Have at least two ways to get out of the house, too. Set a meeting place for everyone.
In the event of a house fire, do not try to salvage items before leaving the house. Personal effects can be replaced, but lives cannot. Instead, keep valuable documents in a fireproof box for recovery later. Keep valuable documents in a fireproof box for recovery later.
Throughout National Fire Prevention Month, take the steps to keep your home and family safe. Explore several other tips from the National Safety Council and the National Fire Protection Association. They offer valuable resources.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalFirePreventionMonth
Follow the tips listed above. Work with your family to implement safety precautions. Practice fire safety all year long and not just once a year. Share tips and resources with your neighborhood. Attend fire safety courses at work or in your community. Join the conversation by using #NationalFirePreventionMonth when sharing on social media.
NATIONAL FIRE PREVENTION WEEK HISTORY
The National Fire Protection Association founded National Fire Prevention Week in 1922. The observance takes place the week of October 9th, commemorating the date of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. In later years, the organization expanded its efforts to include the entire month of October.
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