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Fire safety

Fire safety

To help prevent fires:

  • Follow safe cooking practices: Never leave food that is cooking unattended; supervise children’s use of the stove, oven or microwave.
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms on every floor of the home and near every bedroom. Test them monthly.
  • Teach children that fire is not a toy and it can be dangerous.
  • Keep matches and lighters locked up and away from children.
  • Keep electrical cords from being trapped against walls.
  • Do not overload electrical circuits or extension cords.
  • Do not place electrical cords or wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas.
  • Shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or smell. Have them checked and repaired, or replaced.
  • Be careful when using portable heaters. Be sure bedding, clothing and other combustible items are at least 3 feet from space heaters.
  • Replace mattresses made prior to 2007, when flammability standards were implemented.
  • Use fireplace screens and have the chimney cleaned annually.
  • Kerosene heaters should only be used when approved by authorities. Do not use gasoline or camp-stove fuel. Refuel outside and only when the unit is cool.

Be prepared for a fire:

Fires occur quickly. In less than 30 seconds a single flame can become a fire. In two minutes, it can become life-threatening; in five minutes a residence can be destroyed. To protect yourself and your family, be prepared:

  • Have an escape plan and practice it with the children. Learn two ways out of every room and agree on a meeting place outside the building.
  • If you live in an apartment building, know the best route to the stairwell and emergency exits.
  • If you are in a room with a closed door when fire occurs, there are extra precautions:
    • Do not open the door if you see smoke under it.
    • If you don’t see smoke, check the door handle. If it is hot, do not open the door.
    • If you can open the door and there is no smoke or heat, proceed quickly to your exit.
    • Stay low to the ground as you exit
    • If you can’t get out right away, yell for help or call 911 if you have a phone. Do not hide in a closet or under a bed.

(Information from KidsHealth.org, Ready.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Fire Administration and Safe Kids Worldwide was used in this report)

Tip sheet: Keep Children from Fire

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