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The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.
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Cooking and heating are the leading causes of home fires and fire injuries, and November and December are peak months for fire-related deaths. With the holidays right around the corner and the weather getting colder, 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.
The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Donate to our cause.
The National Safety Council is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization.