Friday, December 17, 2010

Basic Fire Prevention

According to the estimates of USFA in the year 2004 alone the number of fires that took place in the United States was 1.5 million. The estimated loss in dollars stood at staggering 9.8 billion dollars. More horrific figures reveal loss of death of about 3,900 approximately and about 18,000 injuries the same year. The USFA also said that during the same year the fatalities due to fires surpassed fatalities due to all sources combined. And the USFA also adds that even this number could be small in actuality as many small fires are not reported. The statistics also reveals that more than eighty three percent of all fatalities and eighty percent of the total injuries due to fires took place in homes. These figures come as a bitter surprise as most of the fires are pretty much preventable if adequate precautions are taken. Following certain basic fire safety guidelines could greatly reduce the chances of fires and protect the homes and people from this disaster from striking. 

One of the best ways to prevent home fires is to install smoke detectors at every floor of the home and also fire alarms. But, installing the smoke detectors alone would not serve the purpose. Some people think that “once installed forever installed” after installing smoke detectors. But, the fact is many a time the smoke detectors don’t work and do not detect smoke due to mere negligence on behalf of the house owner. The smoke detectors batteries should be tested and checked on a regular basis and in fact the smoke detector should also be tested in whole. Make it a point to replace the battery every year. Do not smoke at home. It is one of the biggest causes of home fires. 

The next big cause is electrical short circuit. Use properly rated wires for house wiring and so does other components. Also when plugging in electrical gadgets check the voltage rating to avoid shot circuits. Also, keep cords at a distance from rugs and carpet. Disconnect any appliance when done using. Replace old appliances or fix them before they become an electrical fire hazard. Also, use circuit breakers in the house wiring and also for plugging outlets to prevent fires due to overloading. 

In recent years a lot of fires have been experienced due to electrical heaters to supplement home heating. Care should be taken to keep portable heaters at a distance from combustible materials to prevent fires. Also, go for heaters that have auto shutoff in case of overloading or overheating. 

Fire places are also one of the biggest fire hazards in houses with fireplaces. Use screens to prevent fire spark from flying off to the outside of the fireplace. Keep combustible material at a distance from the fireplace to prevent them from catching fire. Also, do not overload the fireplace with excessive wood, which may cause sudden outburst of fire within few seconds and unexpectedly. Clean the chimneys periodically to help smoke escape freely into the air and also to clean bird nests which can catch fire. 

Have an escape plan ready for the home. It is a good idea to be also prepared for a fire. Practicing an escape from time to time also increases response during the times of actual fire. Have a plan for every room in the house. 

Educating the house inmates especially children would make evacuation plan easier in the event of an emergency. Children are especially fascinated about fires and like to create fires, about a hundred thousand fires a year are started by children while playing. 

People have a negligent attitude towards fire safety especially during the holidays. They relax every rule just for fun and end up paying huge price for that. Care should be taken even while selecting a Christmas tree, see that it’s not too big so as to make it difficult to manage and which can catch fire easily. Decorations which are non-flammable in nature should be used to decorate homes. 

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