Fire Prevention Week: Safety Tips for Your Home

Here’s something to think about: in a matter of minutes, a house fire can ignite with devastating results. But in about that same amount of time, you can read this blog and prevent it from ever happening.

Fall is a great time to evaluate our homes and make them safer. This is Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 4-10, 2015) and the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has some great ideas for doing just that. In addition, we have a few ideas of own – fireplace related, of course.

When it comes to our homes, fire prevention is paramount. In fact, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record – since 1922, according to the National Archives and Records Administration Library. That tells you something about the importance of fire safety.

Hear the Beep Where You Sleep

This year, NFPA is focusing the majority of its awareness campaign on smoke alarms. Did you know that every bedroom in your home should have a smoke alarm? If not, you’re not alone. The NFPA conducted an online survey recently and nearly half of approximately 36,000 respondents were not aware.

“While we’ve long suspected many people don’t know they need a smoke alarm in each bedroom, the questionnaire we posted confirmed those suspicions,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Fire Prevention Week presents the perfect opportunity to better educate the public about this potentially life-saving message.”

According to NFPA statistics, half of all U.S. home fire deaths occur at night between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when people are most likely to be sleeping. This underscores the extreme importance of having working smoke alarms in all bedrooms.

Remember Fireplace Safety
When enjoying your fireplace, keep the following safety precautions top of mind:

  • Keep clothing, furniture, draperies and other flammable materials a safe distance away from the fireplace.
  • Keep children and pets a safe distance away from the fireplace. All parts of a fireplace can get hot, so any contact should be avoided.
  • A fireplace will remain hot for a while even after it’s been turned off, so continue to use caution until it’s completely cooled.
  • Make sure all fireplaces have a screen to contain sparks and keep hands from touching hot surfaces.
  • Never leave a fire unattended, particularly when children are present.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace:
    • Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container (make sure it's metal) and storing them outside a safe distance from your home.
    • Consider installing a chimney cap. It can prevent sparks from escaping and landing on the roof. it will also keep birds, squirrels, and other animals from nesting or entering the home through the chimney.
    • Have your chimney swept at least once a year and have the fireplace inspected at the same time.

Keep your loved ones safe this season. Protect little hands with these rules for Gas Fireplace Safety. For more information about Fire Prevention Week, visit the NFPA website here.