Want some great advice on how to keep your home safe from fire? Just follow these tips and suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention:
- The most common causes of residential fires are cooking and heating equipment. When cooking, never leave food on a stove or in an oven unattended, and avoid wearing clothes with long, loose-fitting sleeves.
- Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths and the second most common cause of residential fires. If you are a smoker, do not smoke in bed, never leave burning cigarettes unattended, do not empty smoldering ashes in a trash can, and keep ashtrays away from upholstered furniture and curtains.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children's reach. Safely store flammable substances used around the home, and never leave burning candles unattended.
- Install smoke alarms outside each separate sleeping area and on every floor of your home, including the basement. Working smoke alarms can reduce the risk of death in a residential fire by 40 to 50 percent. The CDC suggests smoke alarms with lithium-powered batteries and hush buttons. A lithium-powered battery can last up to 10 years, and a hush button allows you to quickly stop nuisance alarms that are caused by steam, oven smoke, etc.
- If 10-year, long-life smoke alarms are not available, install smoke alarms that use regular batteries and replace the batteries every year. (A useful tip to help you remember: In the fall, when you change your clocks to standard time, change your batteries!)
- Test smoke alarms every month to make sure they work properly.
- Make a family fire escape plan and practice it every six months. In the plan, discuss at least two different ways to get out of every room and designate a safe place in front of the house or apartment building for family members to meet after escaping a fire.