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Foolproof Fire Safety

Nearly 14,000 children 14 and under are injured every year in fire-related accidents, and almost 600 injuries are fatal, according to the National SAFE Kids Campaign in Washington, DC. To help protect your family, read the guidelines below:

When you're inside...

Make sure an adult is always in the kitchen when the stove is being used.

Turn pot handles inward so they can't be bumped.

Keep curtains and other flammable objects away from the stove.

Keep a "kid-free" zone of three feet around the stove when cooking.

Turn off portable space heaters at bedtime or when adults leave the room.

Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that can catch on fire.

Install a screen around your fireplace to catch sparks.

Have your chimney and furnace professionally inspected and cleaned annually.

Make sure electrical cords have no cracks or frayed areas.

Do not run extension cords under carpets or across doorways.

Use separate outlets for each kitchen appliance.

Clear all exits of furniture, toys, and clutter.

Test smoke alarms monthly and change batteries annually. Check into equipping your home with a variety of alarms. Ionization alarms, for example, sense flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms detect slow, smoky fires.

Know at least two exits from your house, and practice the escape route spontaneously at different times of day. Choose a meeting place so family members can account for one another after a safe exit from the house.

Keep matches, lighters, and candles out of children's reach.

Never smoke in bed.

Don't store gasoline, paint thinner, ammonia, propane tanks, or other flammable liquids in the home.

Keep your grill at least 10 feet from the house, garage, and trees.

Store and use the grill on a large, flat surface that can't burn, such as concrete or asphalt. Never use it in a garage or on a porch or deck.

Establish a three-foot "kid-free" zone around your grill.

Have a fire extinguisher, a garden hose, and water nearby when grilling.

Don't use any liquid other than barbecue starter fluid to start or refresh the fire.

Never pour starter fluid directly on the flame -- this can cause the flame to quickly explode.

Never leave a grill unattended.

Keep the grill clean and free of grease buildup that could cause a fire.

Build campfires away from dry branches and grasses, and don't store extra wood near the fire.

Never leave a campfire unattended. Even a small breeze can cause the fire to spread.

To put out a campfire, drown it with water, dirt, or sand, and check under rocks and large pieces of wood for burning embers.

Don't bury coals before smothering them with water -- they can smolder and start a new fire.

For more information on fire safety, visit: