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A Fire Prevention Plan Saves Lives and Home Property

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fire is the second-leading cause of accidental death in the home. So how can you protect your family from this hazard?

While most of us understand the value of smoke alarms, these should only be one part of your overall home fire prevention plan. There are many other ways to protect your family from fire.

Here is some advice on how to help your family stay safe:

  • Have at least one smoke alarm on each floor. It's an inexpensive - and imperative - first line of defense against fire. Place smoke alarms outside bedrooms and keep them in working order by testing them monthly and replacing batteries once a year.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors. These inexpensive devices could help alert your family to toxic fumes. Place them near bedrooms alongside smoke detectors, and in the same rooms as gas-burning appliances like furnaces and water heaters.
  • Guard against electrical fires. Inspect electrical cords regularly and discard if they are frayed. Never plug too many cords into a single socket, and keep the cords away from sources of heat and water.
  • Use appliances with care. Appliances can overheat, resulting in flames and smoke. Keep cords and wires out from under rugs, hanging over nails or in the middle of a high traffic area. An unusual smell emitting from an appliance is a warning sign, so replace old or broken parts immediately.
  • Use portable heaters wisely. Every year you read news stories during the winter about fires caused by portable heaters. You must be extremely careful when using these devices. Keep heaters at least three feet away from furniture, curtains, bed linens, clothing and any other combustible items.
  • Safety-proof your fireplace. Use a heavy, well-built screen to prevent rolling logs and make sure that the screen is large enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to keep flying sparks and hot embers inside. Make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Retrofit security bars on windows. While security bars are a smart way to keep intruders out, they can also impede escape in the event of a fire. Retrofit the bars with quick release devices.
  • Have a fire escape plan. Your final step should be an evacuation plan. The plan should include at least two ways out of every room in your home. Make sure to share it with every household member and practice it occasionally.

Remember, your home should be the place where your family feels most safe, so take the steps necessary to give them the added reassurance.

-Lou

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