Did you know that October is Fire Prevention Month? The goal during this month is to help protect families and their homes by raising awareness about fire safety and prevention.
The National Fire Protection Association also sponsors Fire Prevention Week during October. It’s traditionally observed during the week of October 9 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance.
I thought I’d share some fire safety tips and products with you this week.
Common Causes of Fires in Homes
What do you think the most common cause of fires are in homes? You might be surprised to learn that cooking is the leading cause of residential fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
The organization estimates there were 170,000 fires related to cooking in 2021. The NFPA reports that in 2021, Thanksgiving was the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This comes as no surprise, since many of us are in the kitchen for hours on those days! Plus, we’re often cooking multiple dishes at one time, which can lead to distractions.
Other common causes of house fires included:
- 32,200 heating fires
- 29,800 other unintentional or careless fires
- 24,200 electrical malfunction fires
Residential fires accounted for 2,840 deaths and 11,400 injuries in 2021. The good news is that home fires are largely preventable!
Fire Prevention Tips
- Watch what you heat! Set a timer to remind you that you’re cooking. If you have smart devices in your home, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google, you can easily set reminders on those as well.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
- Always keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a grease fire starts, you can slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove, such as oven mitts, towels, food packaging, etc.
Download a cooking safety tip sheet here to keep nearby in your kitchen.
Although cooking is the leading cause of home fires, there are other causes that you should be aware of. Here are some tips from the American Red Cross to help you keep your home safe:
- Never leave a burning candle unattended
- Use flashlights if your power is out, don’t use candles
- Be careful with portable space heaters, and turn them off when you leave or go to sleep
- Never smoke in your bed, if you’re drowsy or medicated, or if someone in the home uses oxygen
- Smoke outside whenever possible
- Make sure your home heating sources are clean and in working order
- Fix or replace frayed extension cords and wires, and never overload an extension cord
Fire Safety Products for the Home
According to First Alert, nearly 3 out of every 5 deaths from residential fires are in homes with no working smoke alarms. One of the most important things you can do to protect your family is to install working smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, as well as in every bedroom.
Once you’ve installed alarms, it’s imperative to check them regularly. Change the batteries every six months- a great tip to help you remember is to change the batteries when Daylight Saving Time begins and ends. Alarms should also be replaced every 10 years.
Along with smoke alarms, you should also have carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. This odorless, colorless gas is the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the United States.
Fire extinguishers are another item you should have easy access to- if a fire starts in the home and you catch it early, you can use the extinguisher to put it out. (But please, still call 911 and have the fire department check it out!). You should have a fire extinguisher on every level of your home as well as in the kitchen and garage, if you have one.
Another item to consider is a fire escape ladder. Collapsible escape ladders are easy to store and can help you escape from upper levels of your home during a fire. Keep one in each bedroom for easy access.
Wrapping it Up
I hope you found this blog post helpful! Did any of this information surprise you?
To recap, here’s a list of supplies you should have in your home in case of a fire:
- Smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every bedroom
- Carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home
- Fire extinguishers on every level of your home plus in the kitchen and garage
- Fire escape ladder if your home has multiple levels
Are there other fire prevention or preparedness supplies you recommend? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget- when you purchase these items, plus the batteries, be sure to submit the purchases to NCP.
One last tip, if you enjoy candles like I do: I’ve recently seen candle warmers that allow you to set the candle on a heated pad. It warms the candle and slowly melts it, releasing the scent without an open flame. I’m putting this on my wish list!
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