Observing Fire Prevention MonthOctober 9, 2019 12:22 pm
October has been designated as National Fire Prevention Month. It is when public service departments across America join forces to spread the word about fire safety. As a local residential and commercial security and fire alarm system provider for over 60 years, we feel it is our duty to observe this month with some suggestions and tips to help keep your family or workplace safe from this type of catastrophe.
Fire Prevention Month began in 1922 when fire departments around the nation commemorated the Great Chicago Fire, which began October 1871. The damage from this fire was so horrific that people still remember the death toll and damage caused. The fatalities numbered over 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres.
We have come a long way with fire prevention and suppression technology since that time, but it is always a good idea to review some prevention tips with your employees and family members every year.
The Statistics on Fires
Every year, fire departments respond to an average of 355,400 home structure fires per year. These fires cause an annual average of 2,560 civilian fire deaths, 11,670 civilian fire injuries, and $6.5 billion in direct property damage! Four of every five (80%) fire deaths and three of every four fire injuries (74%) were caused by home fires. These numbers do not even begin to tell the tale of the heartache, trauma, and years of rebuilding that it takes for a family or a business to work through following a devastating fire.
Common Causes of Fires
Since residential fires are a leading cause of all fires, it is important for homeowners to have an idea of what the most common causes are and how to spot a potential problem. The leading causes of residential fires include cooking issues, heating malfunctions, electrical malfunctions, and carelessness with an open flame.
Now that we understand the most common causes of home fires, it is important to take safety measures to ensure that your home does not become one of the above-mentioned statistics. By far, the most critical prevention technique that all homeowners should be vigilant about is maintaining home smoke alarms. Be sure that your smoke detectors are installed outside every bedroom, in the kitchen, and in the main living areas of the house – here should be one on every floor of the house. Check that they are working properly several times a year. In addition to having smoke detectors, be sure to invest in a few fire extinguishers for your kitchen, located in an easily accessible area of your home.
Since cooking fires make up about half of residential fires, be sure to follow some common-sense rules when it comes to cooking. Never leave your cooking unattended. Most certainly, do not leave your oven or stovetop on and leave the house, even if it is for just a minute. In addition to being vigilant, you should also keep anything that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains away from your stovetop. For safety purposes, keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
With regards to electrical fires, it is a good idea to check your attic yearly for signs of rodent or pest infestations. Rats and mice, along with other woodland animals, can sometimes find their way into a home and chew on electrical cords, thus causing fires. Have an electrical check-up annually, especially if you notice that your faceplates are warm to the touch, or that lights keep blowing.
As for the unintentional fires (e.g. using a space heater, fireplace, or candle), please be sure that you are careful when using your fireplace or using an open candle. Never leave these unattended. Make sure that candles are not near anything that could catch fire and that you are using a fireplace grate to catch any sparks that could set a rug or piece of furniture aflame. Space heaters are also a cause for concern. Please review @NFPA’s safety information: http://ow.ly/W1LuP #WinterSafety
As always contact Instant Alarm for your home safety needs including a full smoke alarm system and home alerting system. Find us on our contact page or by calling Instant Alarm at 800-499-9070.