Home Fire Safety

house of hazardsSmoke detectors cut the risk of home fire fatalities in half. It is critical to have a smoke detector on each floor of your home and near each bedroom. Attach smoke detectors to the ceiling, if possible, and away from the corners of the room or hallway. Smoke detectors in hallways should be located away from cold air return vents.

Check the batteries in your smoke detectors regularly and change them when the calendar changes, or change them twice a year when the time changes. Be alert for that "chirping" sound that means your batteries need to be replaced.

Carbon monoxide detectors are needed in homes with gas heat, water heater, stove, space heaters; and homes with an attached garage. Carbon monoxide is virtually undetectable without using detectors that are designed to sound an alarm before dangerous levels accumulate.

Keep all space heaters in good working condition and place them at least three feet from anything that burns. Never use electric space heaters in the bathroom or touch them when you are wet.

While cooking, wear clothing with short-sleeves. If wearing long sleeves, use rubber bands to keep them from getting close to the burners. Do not reach over burners. Place pans where you can easily reach them. Use a timer to remind you when something on the stove needs attention. If someone comes to your door or calls you on the telephone while you are cooking, turn off the burners.

If you smoke, use large ashtrays with a center support to hold cigarettes. Never smoke in bed, when sleepy, or when drowsy from medication. Empty ashtrays into a metal container or douse them first with water.

Have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room of your home. Practice your escape plan whenever your grandchildren visit so they are safe, too.

If your clothing catches on fire, STOP, DROP, and ROLL to extinguish it.

Three of the leading causes of home fire deaths for older people are smoking accidents, faulty or misused heating equipment, and cooking accidents. Many of these causes can be prevented.

Keep your eye glasses, a telephone, and walking aids by your bed.

If your home catches on fire, do not open a door that is hot to the touch. Use an alternate exit.

If there is smoke, crawl low to the floor where it is easier to breathe.

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