Investing time and effort into fire prevention is a huge asset to ensure your family never has to endure this devastating and frightening experience.
According to the Nation Fire Protection Association, in 2011, there were 1,389,500 fires reported in the United States, resulting in 3,005 deaths, 17,500 injuries, and $11.7 billion in property damage.
If there’s any good news from these frightening statistics, it’s that there are many easy ways to prevent fires.
A kitchen restored after a fire by Swartz Contracting.
1) Consider these statistics:
Cooking is the leading cause of home structure fires and fire injuries, and kitchens are the leading area where fires start.
Few fires, statistically, start in the living room, family room or bedroom.
Smoking is the leading cause in civilian home fire deaths.
Peak hours for home structure fires are between 5 and 8 p.m.
Three out of five fire deaths came from homes with no smoke alarm.
2) Smoke alarms
Make sure you have a working smoke alarm, better yet have more than one in different areas of the house. They’re not expensive (starting at around $9) and are available at most hardware and discount stores. Statistics show a working smoke alarm can double your chances of survival.
Don’t just buy a smoke alarm and forget about it. Test it monthly, mark a date on the calendar every month so you don’t forget. Also, keep them free of dust and replace the battery at least once a year. Smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years or as recommended by the manufacturer.
3) Electrical fires
Overloaded circuits or extension cords are a serious no-no. Also, don’t have cords or wires under rugs or over nails. And try not to have cords in high traffic areas.
Unusual smells are a warning sign. Immediately shut off appliances that spark or sputter or smell. If this happens, it’s a good idea to have a professional replace or repair the equipment.
When it comes to appliances, pay attention to the manufacturer’s safety instructions. Unplug appliances when they’re not being used. And if you have small children, use safety caps on unused outlets.
Portable heaters need their space. And fireplaces should have screens while chimneys need cleaned annually.
Kerosene heaters need to be approved by authorities. Don’t use gasoline or camp-stove fuel and refuel outside after the heater is cooled.
5) Sprinklers and extinguishers?
Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in the home. Test it, know how to use it and make sure it’s in an easily accessible place in the home. If you don’t have one already, prices start at about $20 and are easy to install.
If you don’t have a home fire safety sprinkler system, it’s a great idea. Having smoke alarms and sprinklers dramatically increases your chances of survival. Not only that, they increase your property value and lower insurance rates. Also, they’re more affordable than you might think. According to firesprinklerinitiative.org, the cost per square foot of installation for a fire sprinkler system is $1.61.
6) We will help
These prevention tips and statistics are a wonderful tool to help you and your family avoid a home fire. However, if the unfortunate happens, know that Swartz Contracting and Emergency Services will help your family repair the damages immediately. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call us today at 419-331-1024 or 800-462-1024.
— Sources for this article include Swartz Contracting, the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Prevention Association.