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Fire Prevention Tips


ELECTRICAL HAZARDS

Electricity, the silent servant, can become a silent assassin.

• It is better not to use extension cords. If you feel you must use one, make sure that it is not frayed or worn. Do not run it under a rug or twist it around a nail or hook.
• Never overload a socket. In particular, the use of "octopus" outlets, outlet extensions that accommodate several plugs, is strongly discouraged.
• Do not use light bulb wattage which is too high for the fixture. Look for the label inside each fixture which tells the maximum wattage.
• Check periodically for loose wall receptacles, loose wires, or loose lighting fixtures. Sparking means that you've waited too long.
• Allow air space around the TV to prevent overheating. The same applies to plug-in radios and stereo sets, and to powerful lamps.
• If a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows frequently, immediately cut down on the number of appliances on that line.
• Be sure all electrical equipment bears the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label.
• In many older homes, the capacity of the wiring system has not kept pace with today's modern appliances. Overloaded electrical systems invite fire. Watch for these overload signals: dimming lights when an appliance goes on, a shrinking TV picture, slow heating appliances, or fuses blowing frequently. Call a qualified electrician to get expert help.

 

KITCHEN

Careless cooking is the number one cause of residential fires. Never leave cooking unattended.
• It's wise to have a fire extinguisher near the kitchen. Keep it 10 feet away from the stove on the exit side of the kitchen.
• Never pour water on a grease fire; turn off the stove and cover the pan with a lid, or close the oven door.
• Keep pot handles on the stove pointing to the back, and always watch young children in the kitchen.
• Don't store items on the stove top, as they could catch fire.
• Keep kitchen appliances clean and in good condition, and turn them off and disconnect them when not in use. • Don't overload kitchen electrical outlets and don't use appliances with frayed or cracked wires.
• Wear tight-fitting clothing when you cook. Here's why: An electrical coil on the stove reaches a temperature of 800 degrees. A gas flame goes over 1,000 degrees. Your dish towel or pot holder can catch fire at 400 degrees. So can your bathrobe, apron, or loose sleeve.
• Be sure your stove is not located under a window in which curtains are hanging.
• Clean the exhaust hood and duct over the stove regularly. and wipe up spilled grease as soon as the surface of the stove is cool.
• Operate your microwave only when there is food in it. CHILDREN and GRANDCHILDREN One-fourth of all fire-deaths of children are from fires started by children.
• Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of children.
• Never leave children unattended with fire or space heaters.
• Children are naturally curious about fire, so keep an eye on them. But if a child repeatedly plays with fire or seems to have a morbid fascination with fire, seek professional help at once.
• If youngsters live with you or stay overnight occasionally, be sure that they know how to escape from every room and are part of your emergency exit plan. [See "Thinking Ahead" above]

 

GASOLINE AND OTHER FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS

Those cans aren't painted red just for the fun of it!
• Flammable liquids should be stored only in approved safety containers, and the containers should be kept outside the house and garage in a separate storage shed.
• Gas up lawn equipment and snowthrowers outside, away from enclosed areas and any source of sparks or heat. • Start the equipment 10 feet from where you filled it with fuel.
• Don't fill a hot lawn mower, snowthrower, or other motor; let it cool first. • Never clean floors or do other general cleaning with gasoline or flammable liquids.

 

SMOKING

If you actually believe that you're immune from cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and other ills, at least worry about burning to death.
• Never smoke in bed.
• Don't smoke when you are drinking or are abnormally tired.
• Use large, deep ashtrays, and empty them frequently.
• Never dump an ashtray into the trash without wetting the butts and ashes first.