With the right preparation, the majority of fires can be prevented.
Wheeler, MI (Vocus) October 14, 2010
With National Fire Prevention Month in full swing, Quicken Loans Inc. is urging everyone to help save lives by fireproofing their homes.
“As one of the nation’s largest home mortgage lenders, we sometimes see the devastating effect fire damage has on families,” said Jay Farner, President of Quicken Loans. “With the right preparation, the majority of fires can be prevented.”
The U.S. Fire Administration reports that fires kill more than 4,000 Americans each year and injure approximately 20,000 more. U.S. fire departments respond to nearly 2 million fires each year, with three-quarters of them occurring in residences.
Help avoid fires and reduce the risk of injury should one occur by following these 10 recommendations:
FIRE PROOF YOUR HOME
1) Smoke Alarms – These are still a very important addition to your home. Smoke alarms are widely available and inexpensive. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and remember to change the batteries.
2) Prevent Electrical Fires – Don’t overload circuits or extension cords. Cords and wires should never be placed under rugs or in high traffic areas. Avoid loose electrical connections by checking the fit of the plug in the wall outlet. If the plug fits loosely, inspect the outlet right away. A poor connection between the plug and the outlet can cause overheating and can start a fire in minutes.
3) Keep Plugs Safe – Unplug all appliances when not in use. Follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions and use your eyes, ears and nose to spot any potential disasters. If a plug is overheating, smells strange, shorts or sparks – the appliance should be shut off immediately, then replaced or repaired.
4) Alternate Heaters – Make sure there is ample space around any portable heating unit. Anything that could catch fire should be at least three feet away. Inspect the chimney annually and use fire screens to help keep fires in the fireplace.
5) Fire Safety Sprinklers – When combined with working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers greatly increase the chance of surviving a fire. Sprinklers are affordable and they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.
6) Create an Escape Route – Create and practice your escape plan with your family from every room in the house. Practice staying low to the floor and checking for hot doors using the back of your hand. It’s just like a routine school fire drill – but in your home.
7) Position Appliances Carefully – Try to keep TV sets, kitchen and other appliances away from windows with curtains. If there is a wiring problem, curtains can spread a fire quickly. Additionally, keeping your appliances away from water sources (like rain coming in from windows) can help prevent wiring damage which can lead to a fire.
8) Clean Dryer Vents – Clothes dryers often start fires in residential areas. Clean the lint filter every time you start a load of clothes to dry or after the drying cycle is complete. Make sure your exhaust duct is made of rigid metal tubing and not plastic or foil. Clean the exhaust duct with a good quality dryer vent brush to prevent blockage & check for lint build up behind the dryer at least twice a year.
9) Be Careful Around Halloween – If you decorate your home with candles during Halloween, keep them away from anything that can easily catch fire. Also be sure to check all of your holiday lights prior to stringing them up and dispose of any with frayed or exposed wires.
10) Conduct Regular Inspections – Check all of your electronic equipment and wiring at least once a month. Taking a little time to do this each month can really pay off.