ELECTRICAL SAFETY: If electrical systems and equipment are not well maintained, they become dangerous fire hazards. Prevent electrical fires by following these safety tips:
KITCHEN: Because hot stove burners and ovens can catch things on fire--and burn you-- it is very important to be alert and attentive while cooking. Practice these safety tips in the kitchen:
- Don't overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
- If appliances aren't working right, have them repaired. Be sure that all electrical appliances and tools have been listed or labeled by a reputable testing laboratory.
- If a fuse blows in your home, try to determine the cause. Be sure the new fuse is the correct size and amperage.
- If small children are around the house, insert plastic covers (available at hardware stores) into unused outlets.
- Combined, water and electricity can give you a shock. When using appliances, such as hair dryers, have dry hands and do not stand in water. If the inside of an appliance gets wet, have it serviced. Unplug when not in use.
LIVING & FAMILY ROOMS: Every family member needs to be alert for fire hazards in the communal areas of the home. Here are fire safety rules for everybody to follow:
- Wear tight sleeves when you cook. Loose-fitting garments can catch fire more easily.
- Do not store things on or over the stove. People get burned reaching over hot burners.
- Turn pot handles in so they can't get knocked off the stove or pulled down by small children.
- Be careful when deep-frying or cooking with grease. If a grease fire starts, cover the pan with a lid to smother the flames, and turn off the burner. Do not pour water on a grease fire. Baking soda also works as an extinguisher.
- Never leave pot holders on the stove. Never leave cooking unattended as fires can start quickly and become serious.
WORKSHOPS STORAGE AREAS & OUTDOORS: Basements and garages are often full of flammable materials not found in other areas of the home. Exercise fire safety inside and out as follows:
- Use extreme caution with cigarettes! Provide large, deep ashtrays for smoker and check under couch and chair cushions for smoldering cigarettes before you go to bed.
- Use a metal fireplace screen on your hearth. Have the chimney checked and cleaned regularly.
- Be sure to use only the correct fuel source in fireplace, woodstove, and kerosene heaters. Refuel cool appliance only.
- Keep portable heaters at least 3 feet away from combustibles: paper, bedding, clothes, or curtains. Always turn heaters off when you go to sleep or leave the house.
- Make sure televisions and stereos have space around them to prevent overheating. If your TV isn't working properly, have it checked, as it could be a fire hazard.
- Store lighters and matches up high, out of the reach of young children.
BEDROOMS: Most fatal home fires occur at night when people are sleeping. That's why it is extremely important to install smoke detectors outside every bedroom to wake you up in case of a fire. When you practice family escape drills, be sure you know two ways out of your bedroom, so you can escape even if one route is blocked by smoke and flames. Remember these fire safety rules:
- Store gasoline and other flammable liquids, such as paint, outside in tight, labelled metal containers. Never use or store flammable liquids near appliances, heat, a pilot light, or while smoking. Do not store gasoline in your home or basement.
- Move your lawnmower, snowblower, or motorcycle away from gasoline fumes before starting. Cool the motor before you refuel.
- Have your furnace checked every year.
- Never use gasoline on a grill fire. Once the fire has started, use only dry kindling to revive it; not charcoal lighter fluid.
- Keep your work area clean. Sort and remove trash from the house. Don't store anything near a furnace or heater.
- Install a lightning rod or lighting protection system on your roof. Check to see if your roof is fire retardant. If it is not made of slate or tile, the roofing should be labeled Class C.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Install smoke detectors outside every bedroom and put an extra one inside if you smoke or sleep with the door closed. Test and clean your detectors regularly.
- Plan two escape routes from your bedroom. If one way out is a window and you're above the ground floor, make sure you have a way to get to the ground safely. Ask your fire department for advice.
- Be sure everyone in your family is familiar with the home escape plan, the meeting place, and the fire department phone number.