Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 8-14, 2023
Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 8-14, 2023
Cooking and heating are the leading causes of home fires and fire injuries, and winter months are the peak time for fire-related deaths. Fire Prevention Week every fall (Oct. 8-14, 2023) is the perfect time to review and practice fire safety.
The good news: Deaths from home fires in the U.S. have trended downward since the 1970s, according to Injury Facts , but even one death from a preventable fire is too many. While fire doesn't discriminate by age, it is the third leading cause of death for children 1 to 14.
● Be alert; if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the oven or stovetop
● Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food
● When simmering, baking or roasting, check the food regularly, remain in the kitchen while cooking and use a timer
● Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop
Heating is the second leading cause of home fires. Follow these tips from the American Red Cross:
● Keep all flammables, like paper, clothing, bedding, drapes or rugs, at least 3 feet from a space heater, stove or fireplace
● Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended; turn off heaters and make sure fireplace embers are extinguished before leaving the room
● If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, nonflammable surface, like ceramic tile, not on a rug or carpet
● Keep children and pets away from space heaters
● When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over
Other top causes of fire include smoking, electrical problems and candles. To minimize risks:
● Institute a “no smoking” policy in the house
● Check all cords and replace any that are frayed or have bare wires
● Switch to flameless candles
● Keep matches and lighters high and out of children’s reach in a locked cabinet
About three out of five fire deaths happen in homes without working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan providing early warning to reduce your risk of dying in a fire. The National Fire Protection Association recommends you:
● Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas on the ceiling or high on the wall
● Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen, at least 10 feet from the stove, to reduce false alarms
● Use special alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers for people who are hard of hearing or deaf
● Test smoke alarms monthly
● Replace batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector annually
● Replace smoke alarms that are 10 or more years old
Start by drawing a map for your home and follow these guidelines from the NFPA:
● Plan two ways to escape from each room
● Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily
● Identify secondary routes: a window onto an adjacent roof or a collapsible ladder from a second floor window
● If you live in a multi-story building, plan to use the stairs – never the elevator
● Designate an outside meeting place a safe distance from the house
Everyone – including children – need to know your family escape plan. The National Fire Protection Association indicates 71% of Americans have a home fire escape plan but only 47% have practiced it. Practice your fire drill with everyone in the house at night and during the day, twice a year. Remember to:
● Practice getting out with eyes closed, crawling low to the floor and keeping your mouth covered
● Practice closing doors behind you
● Practice how to “stop, drop and roll” if your clothes catch on fire
● Practice testing door handles to see if they are hot before opening them
● Teach children never to hide and how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them
Always put your safety first; if you are not confident in your ability to use a fire extinguisher, get out and call 9-1-1. The American Red Cross cautions you to evaluate the situation and ensure:
● Everyone has left or is leaving the home
● The fire department has been called
● The fire is small, not spreading, and there is not much smoke
● Your back is to an exit you can use quickly
Remember the acronym PASS:
Pull the pin.
Aim low at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the handle slowly.
Sweep the nozzle side to side.