Preventing Home Fires

Even in Florida, there is a significant increase in home fires during the winter months. Most fires are caused by heaters, stoves, and clothes dryers. What can you do to help prevent your home and family from becoming another winter fire statistic? 

BE PREPARED. Smoke detector alarms should be installed on each floor of your home and near bedrooms. Test alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice a year. A good way to remember when to change the batteries in your smoke alarms is to do so in the spring and fall when the time changes. Be sure to have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it; check the extinguisher routinely to make sure it’s fully charged. 

Develop a family evacuation plan and determine a safe meeting place in your front yard, then practice, practice, practice. Share your family’s fire safety plan with your babysitter, too. Let children hear what it sounds like when the smoke or carbon monoxide alarms go off, and explain step-by-step what they should do if the alarms sound. 

BE CAREFUL. Never leave the stove or dryer on if you are not home, even if you are just going outside quickly to walk the dog. More than 38% of the home fire losses reported to us this year were stove/range fires. Don’t leave space heaters on when you’re sleeping or burn candles unattended. Flammable liquids, matches, and lighters should always be kept out of kids’ reach. Routinely inspect your clothes dryer for lint buildup; inspect your oven and stove for grease buildup. 

Many local Fire Rescue Departments offer free home fire safety inspections in their community and offer suggestions to make your home safer. For a Fire Prevention Checklist and helpful tips on keeping your family safe, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website at www.nfpa.org.

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