Are You Fire Safe?
Prevention Week 2009 www.firepreventionweek.org/
Fire Prevention Week took place Oct. 4-10, with an emphasis on
preventing fires at home and in the workplace. There’s no argument the
numbers associated with fires of both types are too high:
Michael J. Karter Jr.’s August 2009 report
"Fire Loss in the United States During 2008," posted by NFPA, showed
U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,451,500 fires during
the year that killed 3,320 civilians, injured 16,705 civilians, and
caused an estimated $15.5 billion in direct property losses. Home fires
caused 2,755 or
(83 percent) of the civilian fire deaths.
stunning statistic for everyone who does not work in the fire service,
however: Only 6 percent of the 25,252,500 total calls in 2008 involved
fires. Another 9 percent of the calls were false alarms, and 62 percent
were requests for aid, such as EMS. Lost in the debate over solving the
crisis of uninsured Americans this year has been the toll on hospitals,
fire departments, and their personnel from emergency calls and visits by
the uninsured, including ambulance runs for patients not in need of
The theme of Fire
Prevention Week 2009 is basic:
Smart! Don't Get Burned."
Information on the week's Web site includes this advice:
.....Keep hot foods
and liquids away from tables and counter edges so they cannot be pulled
.....Have a 3-foot
"kid-free" zone around the stove.
.....Never hold a
child in your arms while preparing hot food or drinking a hot beverage.
that hot things hurt.
when using things that get hot, such as curling irons, oven, irons,
heating pads only use for 15-20 minutes at a time and don't lie, sit, or
anything on the pad.
.....To avoid scalds, set the thermostat setting in your water heater no
higher than 120 degrees F.
young children and older adults skin, burns more easily.
having "anti-scald" devices on tub faucets and shower heads to prevent
.....Test the water
before placing a child or yourself in the tub.
young children alone in the tub, shower, or near a sink.
bathwater should be no more than 100 degrees. Even when using a
your wrist, elbow, or the back of your hand as your main guide.
Cool a Burn
Treat a burn right
away. Put it in cool water for three to five minutes. Cover with a
clean, dry cloth. Also, follow this guidance:
.....If the burn is
bigger than your fist or if you have questions, get medical help right
.....Remove all clothing, diapers, jewelry, and metal from the burned
cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Pay attention to
what you are cooking. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling,
or broiling food. In addition:
.....When you are simmering, boiling, baking, or roasting food, check it
regularly, stay in the home,
and use a timer to remind you.
.....If you must
leave the room even for a short time, turn off the stove.
.....If you have
young children, use the stoves back burners whenever possible.
and pets at least 3 feet away from the stove.
.....When you cook,
wear clothing with tight-fitting or short sleeves.
cooked in a microwave oven to cool for a few minutes before you take it
food slowly. Hot steam from the container can cause burns.
The Heat is
fireplace screen to keep sparks inside the fireplace. Turn portable
space heaters off when
you go to bed or leave the room. In addition:
.....Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding, or furniture, at
least 3 feet from heaters.
equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected each year by a
.....Make sure your
portable space heater has an auto shutoff so if it is tipped over, it
will shut off.
chimneys cleaned and inspected before each heating season.
Ask smokers to
smoke outside, and give them deep, sturdy ashtrays. Never smoke if you
are tired, have taken medicine, drugs, or alcohol that makes you sleepy.
Keep smoking materials away from things that can burn, such as bedding,
furniture, and clothing.
light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn such as
lampshades, bedding, curtains, and clothing. In addition:
cracked and damaged electrical cords.
cords for temporary wiring only. Consider having additional circuits or
receptacles added by a qualified electrician.
qualified electrician or landlord if you have recurring problems with
blowing fuses or
tripping circuit breakers, discolored or warm wall outlets,
flickering lights, or a burning or
rubbery smell coming from an appliance.
economic downturn, it is important to keep a watchful eye on your
neighborhood. Encourage your community to implement an anti-arson
program. In addition:
from collecting on your property.
abandoned vehicles from your property.
branches that could be used as a fuel source.
alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level
of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms
throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound. In addition:
.....For best protection, use both photoelectric and ionization
technology. You can use individual
ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or combination units
that contain both technologies
in the same unit.
alarms at least once a month using the test button.
alarms every 10 years.
everyone can hear the sound of the smoke alarms.
.....Have a home
fire escape plan. Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible,
meeting place outside. Practice your escape plan twice a year.
.....When the smoke
alarm sounds, get out and stay out.
.....If you are
building or remodeling your home, consider a home fire sprinkler system