Protect Your Home and Family From Fire With These Easy Safety Basics

by Chris McMurphy on 14 May 2014 0 comments

Here is some good news: The number of deaths from fires has been steadily on the decline since 2001. However, the risk of accidental death or injury from fires has not been eradicated. In 2010, for example, one person was injured in a fire every 30 minutes, and another human being lost his or her life every 169 minutes. Yes, the risks are still out there, and most of them are in the home. That's why it's important for everyone, individuals and families alike, to tick off the boxes on the checklist below to ensure their home is risk free when it comes to accidental fires.

1. Use Appropriate Light Bulbs

The idea of being diligent when selecting light bulbs may seem silly to some, but a healthy number of accidental home fires are the direct result of using light bulbs with wattages incompatible with certain household sockets. That's why it's important to ensure the wattage of each light bulb used in a home is properly rated for the specific socket. Homeowners can also err on the side of caution and use 60-watt bulbs at all times.

2. Check Cords

Frayed or otherwise damaged cords can present a serious fire hazard in the home and therefore should be periodically checked to ensure they are in top condition with no exposed wiring. Also, it is crucial never to cover cords with rugs, carpets or tape, as this can cut off airflow to the wiring, which can lead to damage.

3. Position Home Appliances Correctly

This goes beyond the basic rule of keeping portable heaters at least three feet away from flammable objects. Even the cord of a toaster oven running near a stove can present a serious fire hazard. A good rule of thumb is to keep any appliance — plus its wiring — away from direct heat sources.

4. Look for Faulty Switches and Outlets

A dysfunctional outlet or switch is, unfortunately, one of the prime causes of accidental dwelling fires. The good news is there are easy ways to spot damage to a home outlet or light switch. Warning signs include:

  • Outlets or switches that are hot or warm to the touch.
     
  • Humming or buzzing sounds emanating from the switch or socket.
     
  • Loose plugs.

Homeowners should perform periodic checks of their switches and outlets to ensure safety and functionality.

5. Maintain Working Smoke Alarms

The tragedy is that so many of past years' accidental dwelling fires could have been prevented had homeowners simply installed working smoke alarms. As a standard, smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home as well as outside of sleeping areas. Also, residents should perform once-a-month checks on every smoke alarm in the home and change the batteries once a year.

By following these simple guidelines, residents across the country should be able to maintain a home free of accidental dwelling fires and do their part to continue the decline of death and injury by fire.

Have you taken additional steps to protect your home and family from fire? Please share in comments!

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