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5 Tips to Stop a Fire Before it Starts

Did you know that every minute in the U.S., 17 kids go to the emergency room with unintentional injuries? That number can go even higher at holiday time. That’s why we’re grateful to our friends at UL and Safety at Home for these tips on fire safety.



When it comes to fire safety, information abounds. But it’s often hard to find the time to wade through the information and figure out what you need to do to keep your family safer.

Here are five simple things that you can do today to help protect your family from fire.

1. Do a Smoke Alarm Audit

Do an audit of your home’s smoke alarms. (If you don’t have UL listed smoke alarms, make a plan to install them on each level of the home, especially near sleeping areas). Check placement: Smoke rises, so smoke alarms should be located on a ceiling or high on a wall. Alarms mounted on the ceiling should be at least four inches away from the nearest wall and those mounted on walls should be four to twelve inches down from the ceiling. Test your alarms and be sure that they can be heard in bedrooms even when the doors are closed. If not, install smoke alarms in the bedrooms. Make sure that your kids know what the alarms sound like. Replace alarms that are older than 10 years and replace any alarm that has been painted over.

Tip: Change the batteries whenever you change the clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

2. Make Extinguishers Handy

Be sure that you have at least one or more UL listed fire extinguishers in your home. An ABC-type extinguisher is a good all-purpose choice for fires in the home. Check the gauge located on the extinguisher to see if it needs to be replaced or recharged. Also be sure that the fire extinguisher is in an easily accessible location. Remember that fire extinguishers are not designed to fight large or spreading fires. Your number one priority is to have an escape plan and to get out safely. If the fire is small and contained and the room is not filled with smoke, get everyone out and call the fire department; then, you may use the fire extinguisher to control the fire.

Tip: Read the directions and familiarize yourself with the use of your extinguisher now, before you’re in the midst of an actual emergency.

3. Talk Prevention with Your Kids

Talk to your kids about how they can prevent fires. Children under age five are especially curious about fire and need to start learning about the tremendous danger. Take the mystery out of fire and make sure that your kids know the following safety tips:

  • Never play with matches, lighters or candles.
  • Never play with electrical cords and never put anything in a socket.
  • Blankets or clothes should never be thrown on top of lamps.
  • Don’t turn up a heater without a grown-up’s permission.
  • If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll.

Tip: Check under beds and in closets for burned matches or candles. Kids often choose “secret” places to play with matches and light fires. Even “good” kids are curious–teach your kids to always tell you when they find matches and lighters.

4. Look at Your Home From Your Child’s Perspective

Think about how your child sees potential fire hazards in your home by getting down on your hands and knees with them and taking a look around. See any dangling cords that could cause a problem if pulled? Enticing heaters or other appliances? Make adjustments to your home according to what you find.

Tip: Make your floor-tour a game with your kids. Have them point out things they see by playing eye-spy. You’ll be surprised by what catches their attention.

5. Avoid Overloading Sockets and Cords

Do a walk-through of your home. If you see sockets with too many cords plugged in or even too many extension cords around the house, it may be time to have extra outlets installed by a professional. Always pay attention to the acceptable wattage for cords and lamps. Also look for extension cords that are “tacked up” or run under a rug as these could be a real fire hazard for kids and adults.

Tip: The den and the nursery are particularly susceptible to overloaded outlets. Never plug something in unsafely “just this once” or “until I get another power strip tomorrow.”

For more useful tips and information, like Safety at Home on Facebook:



Read more: Health & Safety, Home, Household Hints, Videos, ,

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34 comments

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12:13AM PDT on Apr 7, 2013

Thanks for sharing :)

6:50PM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

keep a large container of baking soda on hand too.

7:34PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

It's also good to refresh yourself on basic fire safety. I was annoyed to realize when my hair caught fire that I didn't think to stop, drop, and roll. It'd been decades since I'd been taught that. Fortunately, I was able to put the fire out quickly and easily by patting it out, and I didn't hurt my hands (hair seems to burn fast, but to be easy to put out), but stopping, dropping, and rolling would have been vital had it been a more serious fire. And I would have been faster at doing that as a child, when the information was fresh in my mind.

6:07AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

I remember one other tip - never pour water on a grease fire on the stove - it only spreads the fire. Use baking soda or cover with a lid to deprive the fire of oxygen.
I also like the tip - save yourself instead of things - things can be replaced, people cannot.

10:24PM PST on Jan 8, 2012

Good tips.

8:55PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

Basic info that we need to remember.

3:01PM PST on Jan 2, 2012

thanks

8:57AM PST on Dec 12, 2011

great tips!! thanks.

2:31AM PST on Dec 9, 2011

I like Beaker in this video ;)

2:28AM PST on Dec 9, 2011

thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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