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Don’t Play With Fire — Planning and Care

01/16/2015
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Candles, Clothes Dryers, Cooking — All Accidents Waiting To Happen Without Care, Caution

Fire is one of earth’s four basic elements, but when it damages your home, it loses some of its beauty as a thing of nature.

House fires are more common than they should be and often result in death. Even if everyone – including Fluffy the cat and Spot the dog – makes it out alive, families end up displaced, or more accurately homeless, for months at a time.

Firefighter Carrying Boy

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, part of FEMA, residential fires account for 82 percent of fire-related deaths and 78 percent of fire-related injuries. Further, more than half of all residential fires kill occupants while they are asleep.

“The time period from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. accounted for 52 percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings,” the agency’s Web site states. “At the time of their deaths, 37 percent of fire victims in residential buildings were trying to escape; an additional 33 percent were sleeping.”

Among the most-common causes of home fires: clothes dryers, cooking indoors (stoves and ovens) and outdoors (grills), electrical malfunctions, heating systems and seasonal decorations such as Christmas lights.

The National Safety Council reports the majority of deaths and injuries from accidentally caused can be avoided by installing and maintaining smoke detectors.

“Fires in homes are a serious issue,” according to the council’s Web site. “Often fatal fires are the result of not having a working smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector. You can prevent fires through simple steps. Make sure you have a properly working smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm, change the batteries at least once a year.”

Here are some other tips for preventing your home from filling of with fatal flames:

Plan an escape route for your family and practice it.

Keep a fire extinguisher in every room and learn how to use it.

Don’t leave lighters and matches lying around the house.

Don’t leave your house or go to bed without turning off the Christmas-tree lights.

Mind the warnings on lamps and sockets with regard to the maximum amount of allowable wattage.

Portable heaters should be used sparingly and with extreme caution. Same with candles, which small children and pets can knock over in a second.

Finally, if you or your clothing catches on fire, remember to stop, drop and roll.

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