Last week, a dozen residents of a Jackson home escaped an early morning house fire unscathed. Firefighters responded to the call in the early morning and were able to control the blaze in under half an hour. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, fire hazards in the home are serious safety concerns that every family should be prepared for.
Below are five ways to prevent fire hazards in your home, so as to avoid a similar situation to that of the Jackson incident.
Whether cooking is your passion or if you never do it at all, the Red Cross recommends all cooking activities, no matter the level of expertise, be taken seriously. That means staying in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or boiling food.
Even if you must step outside the kitchen for a short period of time, turn off stove before doing so. Likewise, don’t leave the house if you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food.
It is a good idea to check the food regularly and use a timer to remind you that your food is cooking. Keep pets or small children from cooking surfaces and countertops so to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
Don’t Smoke Indoors
If you are a long-time smoker or social smoker, it is best to take it outside.
According to a statistic provided by the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, home fires caused by smoking materials kill close to 1,000 smokers and nonsmokers annually.
25 percent of those killed were not the smoker, and more than one-third of those were children of the smoker. Smoking in bed may be an especially large danger, as not only can a smoker fall asleep with a cigarette in their hand or mouth and potentially burn themselves, but can also catch fire to bed linens. If you must smoke, take it outdoors.
Check Electrical Cords
Unfortunately, extension cords do not last forever and can be a major fire hazard in your home. The Electrical Safety Foundation International, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety in the home and workplace, found that extension cords are to blame for roughly 3,300 home fires each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 more.
Cords wear out from physical use and abuse, John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for UL, a global product safety certification organization told SafetyBee, a safety education website. “If you hit a cord often enough with the vacuum cleaner, it’s going to start to wear out.”
Keep an eye out for worn out electrical cords, especially if they are frayed or chewed by a pet. Because exposed electrical wires can easily light your floor or rug on fire, maintaining and replacing them will help keep your home fire-free.
Install Smoke Alarms
It is of great importance that your home is equipped with smoke alarms on every level. This includes inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas, says the Red Cross. The detectors will alert anybody inside the home that there is smoke, and potentially a fire, inside.
Test these smoke alarms once a month and if they are not working, insert new batteries. Don’t forget that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years and should never be disabled. Also note that carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. It is important to know the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm.
Keep Flammables Away
Getting anything that is flammable near a source of heat is a sure way to start a fire. The Red Cross stresses to keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot. This includes anything near space heaters or candles such as draperies, furniture, bedspreads, and even pets.
Also make sure lampshades are not touching light bulbs. Candles are also a major hazard, and if you cannot refrain from utilizing them in the home, make sure you attend to them at all times and never leave the room when a candle is burning.
Even if you take all these precautions, fires can start regardless of what you do and even without your knowledge. Our attorneys at Morgan & Morgan understand that facing your insurance company after a fire can be more than just a headache.
If fire damage insurance disputes arise, we are willing to step in and help you get the compensation you deserve — and your life back to normal. To learn more on what a burn injury attorney can do for you, visit our fire damage insurance page or fill out our free case review form today.