Fireplaces are a symbol of a warm and welcoming home. But using them improperly can lead to tragedies.
Tragedies involving fires pull at our heartstrings — like the Christmas morning fire that tragically killed three children and their grandparents in Stamford, Conn. (Source: Ct. Post)
According to the Connecticut Post, the family had used their fireplace that day. Stamford, Ct.’s chief fire marshal told the Ct. Post that the initial investigation determined that the fireplace ashes and embers were discarded in a bag, which started the fire.
Based on news stories, it’s currently unclear whether there were any working smoke alarms in the home.
We at CPSC are truly saddened by these deaths and others like them.
SO PLEASE MAKE A MENTAL NOTE: Before starting a fire in the fireplace, make sure ALL of your home’s smoke alarms are working.
Even hard-wired smoke alarm systems need a battery backup, by the way.
That brings us to Mental Note No. 2: Soak hot ashes in water and place them in a covered metal container outside of your home. That’s the recommendation of the U.S. Fire Administration.
Every year, more than 3,000 people die in residential fires. About two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no working smoke alarms. You can cut the risk of dying from a fire by almost half by simply having properly installed and maintained smoke alarms in your home.
When did you last check your smoke alarms? Do you test them every month? Smoke alarms save lives every year. But remember, they can only save your life if they are able to warn you!
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/12/working-smoke-alarms-your-life-may-depend-on-them/
That’s the sound you want to hear if there’s a fire in your home. Unfortunately, too many people never hear an alarm.
We estimate that nearly 2,400 people die each year because of unintentional home fires. About two-thirds of these fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or with smoke alarms that don’t work, perhaps because someone has removed the battery and forgotten to replace it. A smoke alarm’s warning can cut the risk of dying from a fire in your home by almost half.
Beep, Beep, Beep!
Many of us have heard those smoke alarm dead battery chirps – usually at an inopportune time such as 2 a.m. A common response: Remove the battery, go back to sleep, and forget to put in a new battery.
Even when you’re sleep-deprived, that annoying sound does NOT mean remove the battery and forget about it. It means CHANGE THE BATTERY!
When you’re changing that battery, look around your home for where you have smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor? In every bedroom?
Smoke alarms are just one layer of protection for your home. CPSC along with the National Fire Protection Association urge you to develop a fire escape plan. Each person should know two ways out of every room. Set a family meeting place outside. And then practice it twice a year. REALLY!
In addition to these two key layers of protection, follow these safe practices to prevent a fire:
- Cook Safely: Stay in the kitchen and keep a watchful eye while you are cooking. Unattended cooking is the No. 1 cause of cooking fires.
- Check your home’s electrical safety. Heating and cooling equipment are the second-most common source of home fires. Here is a checklist that walks you through how to keep your family safe room by room.
- Use caution when smoking and don’t smoke in bed. From 2006 to 2008, smoking materials caused about 600 deaths each year.
- Buy lighters with a child-safe mechanism if you have kids at home. It’s obvious, but children and fire don’t mix.
- Stop using recalled gel fuels in fire pots. CPSC has recalled millions of bottles of gel fuel due to burn and flash fire hazards. The pourable gel fuel can ignite homes unexpectedly and splatter onto people and objects nearby when it is poured into a firepot that is still burning.
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/10/the-beep-that-can-save-your-life/
Through our work at CPSC, we encounter many tragedies. We see injuries and deaths due to lacerations, poisonings, drownings, strangulations, blunt trauma, and other causes. Incidents involving children are the most heart-breaking and continue to motivate me, my fellow commissioners, and the staff to make the home a safer place for every American, young and old.
More lives are lost and more homes are destroyed by fire than any other hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 2,755 were killed last year in home fires, 83% of all fire deaths. On average, eight lives are lost every day from home fires. At CPSC, we listen to the loved ones of fire victims and often hear them say, “if only.” “If only the smoke detector had a battery. If only we had a plan to get out alive.” Read more
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2009/10/fire-prevention-week/