October is fire prevention awareness month so today we’re releasing 10 home fire safety tips for you to start following in the month of October and continue for the rest of your life!
The U.S. Fire Administration reports that fires kill more than 4,000 Americans each and every year. Approximately 20,000 people are injured in fires every year and U.S. fire departments respond to 2 million fires, with 75% of them occurring in residencies.
1. Smoke Alarms: Check your smoke alarm batteries on a monthly basis to make sure they are working properly. There should be a smoke alarm installed on every level of your home.
2. Prevent Electrical Fires: When you leave your home, unplug everything from the walls and use extension cords wherever possible, but don’t overload them! Flip the switch on the extension cord to turn the circuit off before you leave the house. Avoid loose electrical connections by checking the fit of the plug on the wall outlet. If the plug fits loosely, inspect the outlet. A poor fitting can cause overheating and can start a fire in minutes.
3. Keep Plugs Safe: Unplug all appliances when not in use. This includes coffee makers, hair straighteners and curlers, cell phone charges, and anything else you may not think to unplug because you use these products so often.
4. Alternate Heaters: Make sure there is ample space around any portable heating unit. This means anything that can catch fire should be at least 3 feet away, even from the wall. Inspect your chimney annually by a professional.
5. Fire Safety Sprinklers: Home fire sprinklers generally increase your chance of surviving a fire. Sprinklers are affordable and can increase property value and lower insurance rates. Consider investing in these devices.
6. Create an Escape Route: Make sure every member of your family is aware of where to safely exit the home in the case of a fire. Ensure there is more than one exit just in case your safety route is blocked by the fire or debris.
7. Position Appliances Carefully: Try and keep TV sets, kitchen appliances and other devices away from windows, curtains and other flammable items in your home. It is also important to keep these appliances away from water sources, such as rain coming in from a window. This can prevent wiring damage which could lead to a fire.
8. Clean Dryer Vents After Every Use: Clothes dryers often start fires in residential areas. It’s extremely important to clean out dryer vents after each and every use to ensure you are protecting your home and family from a fire. Make sure the exhaust duck is made of metal tubing and not plastic or foil. Clean the duct with a good quality dryer vent brush to prevent blockage and check for lint build up behind the dryer at least twice a year.
9. Be Careful Around Holidays: If you decorate your home with lights around the holidays, make sure you are keeping them away from anything that could easily catch fire. Unplug your Christmas tree lights at night and when you are not home. Check all lights prior to stringing them and dispose of any frayed or exposed wires.
10. Conduct Regular Inspections: Check all your electronic equipment for any damages or wires that might be frayed at least once a month.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.