Fire Hazards in the Home

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The National Fire Protection Association reports 85% of fire deaths occur in the home, making fire prevention a top priority in every home. Here is a list of some of the less obvious tips for fire prevention, based on the most common causes of fires:
Cooking is the number one cause of home fires.

  • NEVER use water to extinguish a grease fire.
  • Keep appliances clean, and wipe surfaces after spills. Clean stove surfaces and ovens regularly.
  • Wear tight-fitting sleeves, or roll them up when cooking
  • Keep flammable objects, including pot holders, dish towels and curtains, at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and all other solid-fueled heating equipment needs to be inspected annually by a professional and cleaned accordingly.
  • Assure microwaves have enough room to breathe, that all the vents are cleared of obstructions.
  • If there is a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave. Make sure to have the microwave oven serviced before you use it again.
  • If there is an oven fire, keep the door closed and turn off the heat. If the fire doesn’t go out immediately, call the fire department.
  • A grease fire occurs when oil or greasy foods are heated and ignite. The simplest way to fight a grease fire is to carefully slide a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner, don’t move the pan, and keep the lid on until the pan cools completely. Baking Soda may also be used to suffocate the fire.
  • NEVER PUT WATER ON A GREASE FIRE. Water causes the grease to splatter and the fire to spread. Also, NEVER attempt to take a grease fire outdoors. It will be too hot to carry and you will drop it, causing a major house fire.

Heating Equipment

  • Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the winter months of May, June and July, and is the second-leading cause of home fires year-round.
  • When buying heaters, look for devices with automatic shutoff features.
  • Be sure any gas-fueled heating device is installed with proper attention to ventilation, and never put unvented gas space heaters in bedrooms or bathrooms. Liquefied Petroleum (LP) gas heaters with self-contained fuel supplies are prohibited for home use.
  • Never leave space heaters on when you leave the room.
  • Space heaters should be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Don’t use extension cords with space heaters. The high amount of current they require could melt the cord and start a fire.
  • When lighting a gas space heater, strike your match first, then turn on the gas.
  • Never use a gas range as a substitute for a furnace or space heater.