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Keeping Your Family Safe From Fire

What would you do if a fire started in your home? Do your children and other family members know what to do? This week we are going to take a look some of the ways you can prevent fires and keep your family safe if the unthinkable occurs.


All homes have potential hazards. The key is minimizing the chances that these hazards will turn into tragedy. Begin by checking all of your appliances. Are they in good condition, or are the cords frayed or loose? Are your outlets overloaded with multiple plugs from all of your electronics? Are extension cords overused? Are the bulbs in your light fixtures of the correct wattage? Does your bathroom and kitchen contain GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) outlets that will kill the circuit in the case of a faulty circuit?


There are other important tips to keep in mind. If you have any appliances that spark, smell funny, or overheat, stop using them immediately and replace them. Never run electrical cords under a rug. Be sure that lamps or other lights are not touching drapes or other fabrics. Be careful when using electric blankets. If you have young children in your home, use a plastic safety cover to cover any unused outlets.


During the winter months, the number of residential fires always spikes. The use of portable space heaters substantially contributes to this increase. Before using one of these devices, make sure you understand how to properly use it. Never place one of these heaters where a child or pet could knock it over. Also make sure that you do not place it too close to a bed. Keep magazines, newspapers, magazines, and fabrics from curtains, cloths, and bedding away from these heaters, as well as fireplaces. The heater should be a minimum of three feet away from anything that is flammable.


Also be careful in the kitchen. Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires in the United States. There are many risks in the kitchen, such as food cooking on the stove unsupervised, a towel left too close to a burner or toaster, and a coffee pot left on. Also be careful if you are wearing loose fitting clothing when cooking on the stove.


You should keep your fireplace clean and covered with a screen in order to keep sparks from jumping out. You should also only burn wood in the fireplace. Paper and other materials can escape. Never leave the fire unattended, and make it is out before leaving the house or going to bed. You should also get the chimney professionally cleaned every year.


One of the most important things that you can do is make sure that your smoke detectors are in proper working order. Having a working fire alarm will cut your risk of dying in a fire in half. If you do not have a smoke alarm, install them now. You should also make sure that they are installed at the ceiling level since smoke rises. Change the battery in them twice a year, when the time changes.


It is also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in your home. When using them, remember to use the PASS system:

          Pull the pin. Release the lock with the nozzle pointed away from your body.

          Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

          Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

          Sweep the nozzle from side to side


Here at Actsoftx, we certainly hope that these tips will help to keep you and your family safe from fire.


Gary Harris



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