Every year, there are nearly 360,000 structural fires, resulting in over 2,500 deaths. And did you know that home fires are the sixth leading cause of death among seniors? The following are simple steps that each of us can take to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the disaster of home fires.
- Inspect and clean your chimney annually, checking for any damage or obstructions before lighting a fire.
- Make sure the fireplace is completely out after each use.
- Use a fireplace screen that’s heavy enough to stop rolling logs and large enough to catch any flying sparks.
- Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking.
- Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from home structures, and away from any plants or overhanging branches.
- Keep children away from any heated cooking areas when in use.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove and stove tops. Unattended cooking equipment is responsible for half of all cooking-related deaths.
Electrical and Appliance Safety
- Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
- Have your furnace or boiler inspected and maintained annually by a qualified contractor. Make sure all components including, wires, connections, valves, and venting are checked.
- Immediately shut off and replace light switches that are hot to the touch.
- Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray after use.
- Soak cigarette butts and any ashes in water before throwing them away. Tossing away hot cigarette butts causes 5% of all home fires.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire spread faster and burn much hotter.
- If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out before dozing off.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT?
Find out about your local emergency services departments here – cityofsalemnj.gov/police-fire-ems.