Fire Prevention Tips
Many bedroom fires are caused by misuse or poor maintenance of electrical devices, careless use of candles, smoking in bed, and children playing with matches and lighters. Most potential hazards can be addressed with a little common sense. For example, be sure to keep flammable items like bedding, clothes and curtains at least three feet away from portable heaters or lit candles, and never smoke in bed. Also, items like appliances or electric blankets should not be operated if they have frayed power cords, and electrical outlets should never be overloaded.
As temperatures cool in October, you will probably want to use the heater to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Taking precautions when heating your home on chilly October nights can reduce your risk of fire. Whether you use a space heater or fireplace to stay warm, keep any flammable item at least 3 feet away from the heat source, advises the National Fire Protection Association. Turn space heaters off when you're leaving the room or leaving the house; space heaters, left unmonitored, can easily catch on fire.
Fire Safety Checklist:
- Install and maintain a working smoke alarm outside of every sleep area and remember to change the battery at least once a year.
- Designate two escape routes from each bedroom and practice them regularly.
- Teach everyone the "Stop, Drop, and Roll" technique in case clothing catches on fire.
- Avoid storing old mattresses in the home or garage.
- Teach kids that matches, lighters and candles are tools, not toys. If you suspect that a child is playing with fire, check under beds and in closets for telltale signs like burned matches. Matches and lighters should be stored in a secure drawer or cabinet.
Candles are frequently used in Halloween decor; votive candles light up jack-o'-lanterns, and elaborate candelabras can add to indoor Halloween decorations. However, candles, while festive, pose a fire safety risk. When using candles as a part of Halloween decor, extinguish them before you leave the room; left unsupervised, a candle can start a fire. Ensure the wick is fully extinguished -- with no spark -- when you blow out the candle; otherwise, the candle can re-ignite as soon as you walk away.
Fire safety is a hot topic for Halloween, so review fire-safety rules before hosting a Halloween party or sending the kids out trick-or-treating. Ensure your costumes do not have much fabric hanging from them; loosely hanging fabric can catch on fire when you walk past a candle. Keep open flames away from flammable decorations like paper tablecloths, crepe paper or dried flowers. The association reports that decorations are the first thing to ignite in more than 1,000 home fires every year.