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.
THINKING AHEAD: Your Exit
As with other things, the best
motto is, "Be Prepared."
- Prepare a floor plan of
your home showing at least two ways out of each room.
- Sleep with your bedroom
door closed. In the event of fire, it helps to hold back
heat and smoke. But if a door feels hot, do not open it;
escape through another door or window.
- Easy-to-use window escape
ladders are available through many catalogues and outlet
stores. For instance, First Alert sells one for around $90.
- Agree on a fixed location
out-of-doors where family members are to gather for a head
- Stay together away from the
fire. Call 911 from another location. Make certain that no
one goes back inside the burning building.
- Check corridors and
stairways to make sure they are free of obstructions and
- To help cut down on the
need for an emergency exit in the first place, clear all
unnecessary items from the attic, basement, garage, and
Remember, you're deliberately
bringing fire into your home; respect it.
- Use a fireplace screen to
prevent sparks from flying.
- Don't 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
- Install a chimney spark
arrester to prevent roof fires.
- When lighting a gas
fireplace, strike your match first, then turn on the gas.
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 .
- Don't store newspapers,
rags, or other combustible materials near a furnace, hot
water heater, space heater, etc.
- Don't 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
- Don't 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.
Under some circumstances,
dangerous heat can build up in a dryer.
- Never leave home with the
clothes dryer running.
- Dryers must be vented to
the outside, not into a wall or attic.
- Clean the lint screen
frequently to keep the airway clear.
- Never put in synthetic
fabrics, plastic, rubber, or foam because they retain heat.
Electricity, the silent
servant, can become a silent assassin.
- It is better not to use
extension cords. If you feel you must use one, make sure
that it is not frayed or worn. Do not run it under a rug or
twist it around a nail or hook.
- Never overload a socket. In
particular, the use of "octopus" outlets, outlet extensions
that accommodate several plugs, is strongly discouraged.
- Do not use light bulb
wattage which is too high for the fixture. Look for the
label inside each fixture which tells the maximum wattage.
- Check periodically for
loose wall receptacles, loose wires, or loose lighting
fixtures. Sparking means that you've waited too long.
- Allow air space around the
TV to prevent overheating. The same applies to plug-in
radios and stereo sets, and to powerful lamps.
- If a circuit breaker trips
or a fuse blows frequently, immediately cut down on the
number of appliances on that line.
- Be sure all electrical
equipment bears the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label.
- In many older homes, the
capacity of the wiring system has not kept pace with today's
modern appliances. Overloaded electrical systems invite
fire. Watch for these overload signals: dimming lights when
an appliance goes on, a shrinking TV picture, slow heating
appliances, or fuses blowing frequently. Call a qualified
electrician to get expert help.
Careless cooking is the number
one cause of residential fires. Never leave cooking
- 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.
- Don't 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.
- Don't overload kitchen
electrical outlets and don't use appliances with frayed or
- 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
- 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.
CHILDREN and GRANDCHILDREN
One-fourth of all fire-deaths
of children are from fires started by children.
- Keep lighters and matches
out of the reach of children.
- Never leave children
unattended with fire or space heaters.
- Children are naturally
curious about fire, so keep an eye on them. But if a child
repeatedly plays with fire or seems to have a morbid
fascination with fire, seek professional help at once.
- If youngsters live with you
or stay overnight occasionally, be sure that they know how
to escape from every room and are part of your emergency
exit plan. [See "Thinking Ahead" above]
GASOLINE AND OTHER FLAMMABLE
Those cans aren't painted red
just for the fun of it!
- Flammable liquids should be
stored only in approved safety containers, and the
containers should be kept outside the house and garage in a
separate storage shed.
- Gas up lawn equipment
outside, away from enclosed areas and any source of sparks
- Start the equipment 10 feet
from where you filled it with fuel.
- Don't fill a hot lawn mower
or other motor; let it cool first.
- Never clean floors or do
other general cleaning with gasoline or flammable liquids.
If you actually believe that
you're immune from cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and other
ills, at least worry about burning to death.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Don't 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.