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Home Fire Prevention - Simple Steps to Follow

Jul 17, 2008
It is estimated that over 300,000 home fires occur annually. Although a fire alarm plays a key role in fire survival, it would still be more beneficial to prevent a fire from ever starting. Home fires can be prevented, provided that precautionary measures in your common household practices are followed.

While you cannot predict what type of fire you will experience, it's always better to minimize hazards by conscientiously following some easy steps to prevent home fires resulting from the three leading causes - cooking, cooling and heating equipment, and electrical wiring.

Steps to prevent cooking fire

As home fires are mostly caused by cooking equipment, prevention should focus on this aspect by strictly following these safety practices:

* Do not disable your smoke alarm. Position it someplace where its sound won't be a constant nuisance of false alarms, but where it can still adequately detect small fires occurring in the kitchen.

* Do not forget to watch the food being cooked as most of the fires originating from the kitchen are due to unattended cooking.

* Set a timer so you will not forget that you're cooking something should you need to leave the kitchen.

* If you have kids, keep them away from any appliance when you're cooking. Restrict them from playing in the kitchen especially near the stove.

* Avoid wearing loose fitting sleeves or clothing while cooking as these can easily catch flame.

* Avoid storing any items behind the stove so you won't have to reach over it should you need to get anything.

* Keep pot and pan handles directed inward to avoid accidentally pulling or knocking them off the stove.

Preventing fires from cooling and heating equipment

The next most common origin of residential fire is caused by heating and cooling equipment. Home heating equipment pertains to central heating units, space heaters that can be moved or firmly stationed, fireplaces, and heat conduction systems.

Below are useful steps to follow in preventing fires from this type of equipment:

* Have your heating, cooling and water devices checked yearly by a qualified technician to ensure that they are functioning well.

* Ensure that your fireplace chimney is regularly checked and cleaned. Have it swept at least once a year.

* Never leave a portable heating device on unattended or while you are asleep. These air heating devices are designed only as temporary adjunctive heaters and should be operated only when someone can attend to them.

Use only portable heating devices that have been sealed by a nationally accredited testing group. These devices have undergone sufficient testing in terms of safety requirements, and their manufacturers have provided vital use and care details to their users.

Preventing fires due to electrical wiring and lighting

Faulty wiring and lighting comprise the third leading cause of home fires. Many of these electrical fires are due to faulty outlets and old wiring that are malfunctioning. Other fire causes include frayed appliance cords and busted safety plugs.

To prevent fires resulting from electrical cords and lighting, you should:

* Discard any cracked or stiff electrical cords. Old, overused and flexed cord insulation is usually damaged.

* Check for tattered or loose wires in electrical cords as these can cause fires. Have these cords replaced right away.

* Avoid using extension cords for long periods. Be sure to install additional outlets when needed.

*Keep flammable items away from light bulbs (particularly halogen types) as these can get extremely hot and set nearby combustibles on fire.

* Never cover a lampshade with a piece of clothing or towels. Lamps without cover should not be used in cases where they might fall down onto a bed or sofa.

* Check for the right wattage specified for a certain fixture and use it only. High wattage bulbs can lead to the overheating of the fixture which can trigger a fire.
About the Author
Visit Residential Fire Sprinklers .com - Your Source for Home Fire Protection. In 2008 Ryan retired from the senior management team of an industry leading fire protection company in North America to focus on improving home fire protection. Visit the Home Fire Protection Blog for the latest discussion and information on home fire protection.
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