Boston, MA (PRWEB) December 2, 2008
Liberty Mutual Insurance and Holly Robinson Peete, actress, philanthropist and mother of four, are teaming up to encourage families to set aside a few moments before the holiday rush to review fire safety precautions and response plans at BeFireSmart.com.
Home fires top the list of Americans' safety concerns, according to a recent Liberty Mutual/IAFF Fire Safety study, and the holiday season gives many people reason for worry. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) estimates that 47,000 fires occur nationally each year during the holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries and costing $554 million in property damage.
''Holiday fire safety should not be taken lightly,'' said Peete. "While the holidays are a festive time that brings families and tradition together, the excitement of the season may overshadow hidden dangers in your home. By taking a few moments to review fire safety precautions and response plans, parents can help prevent an unfortunate holiday disaster."
The USFA reports that cooking continues to be the lead cause of home fires during the holidays. While the Liberty Mutual/IAFF study reveals a large majority of American adults (85 percent) know that most home fires start in the kitchen, the study also reports unsafe behaviors. Twenty-six percent of adults admit to leaving food cooking unattended on the stove, and 16 percent admit to actually disabling their kitchen smoke alarm while cooking.
Beyond cooking there are other activities that pose fire risks. Families eager to celebrate holiday traditions such as lighting the Menorah or Kinara, or decorating the Christmas tree could get more than they bargain for if they're not careful. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reports that Christmas trees, both natural and artificial, pose the greatest threat during the holidays since they're most frequently the first item to ignite.
1. Keep decorations, wreaths and trees at least three feet from heat sources such as candles,
fireplaces and space heaters.
2. Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or
cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up.
3. Keep candles out of reach from children and pets and never leave a lit candle unattended. Trim the
wicks to one-quarter of an inch to avoid high flames and remember to leave a one-foot circle of safety
around any burning candle in your home.
4. At the end of the evening, walk around your home to ensure that all lights, candles and the
fireplace have been turned-off or extinguished.
5. Baking during the holidays can be a fun family activity. Be sure, however, to maintain a
three-foot safety zone from the stove for kids and pets.
6. Keep cooking areas clear of anything that can catch fire like a pot holder, rag, curtains or
paper. Remember to never leave cooking food on the stove or in the oven unattended.
7. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and away from high-risk areas so that it's easily accessible in
the event of a fire. If you haven't used yours in a while revisit the instructions before the
holidays get into full swing.
8. Check your smoke alarms before your guests arrive for the holidays. Replace smoke alarms
that are 10 years old or more.
9. Map out an escape plan, share it with visiting relatives and practice it - even in the snow and
especially at night. Also, remind your guests about your safe family meeting place, outside and
away from the home, if a fire does occur.
10. Talk to your children about fire safety. If there's a home fire - everyone should get out and stay out. Call 911 from outside the home and never go back into a burning home to retrieve a personal item or pet.
For more information and fire safety tips visit BeFireSmart.com. The site provides information on the proper use of smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, tips to prevent fires from sources such as candles and clothes dryers as well as helpful hints on mapping out fire escape plans. It also offers fast, fun and interactive games in the children's section in addition to a coloring book and story that they can download which teaches kids never to hide from a firefighter during a fire. Additionally, the site offers classroom lesson plans for teachers.
Liberty Mutual Group
''Helping people live safer, more secure lives'' since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group (LibertyMutualGroup.com) is a diversified global insurer and sixth-largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2007 direct written premium. Liberty Mutual Group ranks 94th on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2007 revenue. The company has over 45,000 employees located in more than 900 offices throughout the world.
The eighth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual (http://www.LibertyMutual.com) sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 10,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.
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