The Lakeville Volunteer Fire Department wishes you a safe and happy New Year. Below are some important home safety tips that are easy to follow. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Lakeville Volunteer Fire Department. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have over the phone. If necessary we are available to come to your home for an inspection, or just some friendly advice. To contact our Fire Prevention Division, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some brief but important statistics to keep in mind:
§ In 2008, 80% of fires in the United States occurred in the home, resulting in 3,925 fire deaths.
§ In the U.S., someone dies from a home fire roughly every 134 minutes.
§ Roughly half of all home fire deaths in the U.S. resulted from fires that were reported between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. But only one-quarter of home fires occur between those hours.
§ Although children five and under make up about 9% of the country's population, they accounted for 17% of the home fire deaths.
§ Smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths overall, but in the months of December, January and February, smoking and heating equipment caused similar shares of fire deaths.
§ Every 20 seconds, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the nation.
With these startling statistics in mind, here are some safety tips for you:
SMOKE DETECTORS - Smoke is responsible for three out of four deaths.
§ Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and outside of sleeping areas.
§ Test every detector at least once a month. (See your instruction book for the location of the test button.)
§ Keep smoke detectors dust free. Replace batteries with new ones at least once a year, or sooner if the detector makes a chirping sound. A good rule to use is to change the batteries when you change the clocks forward for spring.
§ If you have a smoke detector directly wired into your electrical system, be sure that the little signal light is blinking periodically. This tells you that the alarm is active.
§ Inexpensive smoke detectors are available for the hearing impaired.
FIRE EXTINGUISHERS - They remain your best bet if you're on the spot when a fire begins.
§ Fire extinguishers should be mounted in the kitchen, garage, and workshop.
§ Purchase an ABC type extinguisher for extinguishing all types of fires.
§ Learn how to use your fire extinguisher before there is an emergency.
§ Remember, use an extinguisher on small fires only. If there is a large fire, get out immediately and call 911 from another location.
FIREPLACE - Remember, you're deliberately bringing fire into your home; respect it.
§ Use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying.
§ Do not store newspapers, kindling, or matches near the fireplace or have an exposed rug or wooden floor right in front of the fireplace.
§ Have your chimney inspected by a professional prior to the start of every heating season and cleaned to remove combustible creosote build-up if necessary.
§ Install a chimney spark arrester to prevent roof fires.
§ When lighting a gas fireplace, strike your match first, then turn on the gas.
FURNACE/SPACE HEATERS - Used improperly, a space heater can be the most dangerous appliance in your house.
§ Install and maintain heating equipment correctly. Have your furnace inspected by a professional prior to the start of every heating season .
§ Do not store newspapers, rags, or other combustible materials near a furnace, hot water heater, space heater, etc.
§ Do not leave space heaters operating when you're not in the room.
§ Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that might burn, including the wall.
§ Do not use extension cords with electrical space heaters. The high amount of current they require could melt the cord and start a fire.
§ When lighting a gas space heater, strike your match first, then turn on the gas.
§ Never use a gas range as a substitute for a furnace or space heater.
KITCHEN - Careless cooking is the number one cause of residential fires. Never leave cooking unattended.
§ It's wise to have a fire extinguisher near the kitchen. Keep it 10 feet away from the stove on the exit side of the kitchen.
§ Never pour water on a grease fire; turn off the stove and cover the pan with a lid, or close the oven door.
§ Keep pot handles on the stove pointing to the back, and always watch young children in the kitchen.
§ Do not store items on the stove top, as they could catch fire.
§ Keep kitchen appliances clean and in good condition, and turn them off and disconnect them when not in use.
§ Do not overload kitchen electrical outlets and do not use appliances with frayed or cracked wires.
§ Wear tight-fitting clothing when you cook. Here's why: An electrical coil on the stove reaches a temperature of 800 degrees. A gas flame goes over 1,000 degrees. Your dish towel or pot holder can catch fire at 400 degrees. So can your bathrobe, apron, or loose sleeve.
§ Be sure your stove is not located under a window in which curtains are hanging.
§ Clean the exhaust hood and duct over the stove regularly. and wipe up spilled grease as soon as the surface of the stove is cool.
§ Operate your microwave only when there is food in it.
SMOKING - While the safest way to avoid a fire due to smoking is to not smoke in your home, if you plan on smoking in your home, please follow these safety rules:
§ Never smoke in bed.
§ Do not smoke when you are drinking or are abnormally tired.
§ Use large, deep ashtrays, and empty them frequently.
§ Never dump an ashtray into the trash without wetting the butts and ashes first.
Hopefully you found these tips helpful! Do not hesitate to contact us, should you have any questions.