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Cooking and heating are the leading causes of home fires and fire injuries, and winter months are the peak time for fire-related deaths. Now is the perfect time to review and practice fire safety.
The good news: Over the past several decades, deaths from home fires in the U.S. have steadily gone down – from 5,200 in 1980 to 2,710 in 2017, 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 ages 1 to 14. In 2017, 127 children in this age group died from fire and smoke inhalation.
When cooking, make fire safety a priority by keeping these tips in mind:
Heating is the second leading cause of home fires. Follow these tips from the American Red Cross:
In addition to cooking, other top causes of fire include smoking, electrical problems and candles. To minimize risks:
About three out of five fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan providing early warning reducing your risk of dying in a fire. The National Fire Protection Association recommends you:
A home fire is reported every 88 seconds. Once the smoke alarm sounds, a fire can spread quickly, leaving only a minute or two to escape. That's why it's so important to have a home escape plan.
Start by drawing a map for your home and following these guidelines from the NFPA:
Home Fire Drill Day, a safety observance developed by Nationwide in partnership with NSC and other organizations, is held during Fire Prevention Week in October. Everyone – even children – need to know your family escape plan in case of a fire. The National Fire Protection Association indicates that 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.
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:
Learn about the different types of fire extinguishers; not all will work on every fire. For home use, the National Fire Protection Association recommends a multi-purpose device large enough to put out a small fire but not so heavy that it will be difficult to handle.
Review the instructions once a year. If you need to use a fire extinguisher, there won’t be time to learn how to do it.
To use a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS:
The Centers for Disease Control reports
there are three types of burns:
If you don't know how severe a burn is, call 911 or seek medical treatment. Click here for more
information on first-aid for burns.
Did you know you're not supposed to use ice, butter or ointments when treating burns? Learn how to treat all types of burns.
A small house fire can rage out of control in minutes. Learn how to prevent a fire – and how to survive one.
Frayed cords, overloaded outlets, space heaters and many other problems can cause a fire. Use this checklist to keep your home fire-proof.
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