Top Five Home Fire Safety Tips for the Holidays

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As winter approaches and temperatures drop, staying warm is a high priority: this often means using an additional heat source to take off the chill. This supplementary heat source is often a portable heater – and they are far more dangerous than people realize. There is also more activity in the kitchen during the holidays, and cooking still accounts for more residential fires than any other cause. Let’s look at the facts, offered by the folks at Allstate Insurance on their blog. Allstate in turn gets much of their information from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Beep! Waking up to a smoke detector can be a terrifying experience, as my next-door neighbor Jolene recently learned. After lighting a candle on her windowsill, Jolene fell asleep before blowing it out. She awoke 30 minutes later to a room filled with flames. Wind coming through the open window had blown the draperies right into the candle’s flame. Thanks to her bedroom’s smoke detector, Jolene escaped unscathed, although her house sustained substantial damage.

Sobering Statistics

In its report “Fire Loss in the United States During 2011,” the NFPA reported that residential fires, like the one caused by Jolene’s forgotten candle, killed an estimated 2,550 civilians and injured 14,360 civilians. Many of these fires occur during the hectic holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. It’s easy to get caught up in chaotic holiday preparations and overlook potential fire hazards, like turkey fryers and space heaters.

Top Five Home Fire Safety Tips

This year, don’t let your family’s celebration go up in smoke. Get a jump-start on the holidays with home fire protection by following these home fire safety tips to keep your family safe.

1)      Cook with Caution. Nearly half of all home fires are cooking-related, says the NFPA. Keep a fire extinguisher ready to battle open flames on the stove or splattered cooking oil. The extinguisher should be rated for both grease and electrical fires. To use it, remember the acronym P.A.S.S.: Pull the pin. Aim the nozzle at the fire’s base. Squeeze the nozzle to spray. Sweep back and forth while spraying the fire’s base.

2)      Never Leave Space Heaters Unattended. Heating systems, especially space heaters and wooden stoves, can easily ignite nearby household items. Keep all space heaters at least three feet from household items. Turn heaters off before leaving a room or going to sleep. Never leave pets or children unsupervised with a space heater or wooden stove; in addition to the risk of starting a fire, heaters and stoves pose a danger of burns, as well.

3)      Check your Electrical Cords. Faulty, cracked or deteriorating electrical cords can shoot sparks onto flammable surfaces – like your family’s Christmas tree ­– and quickly start a fire. Check all your electrical cords for fraying or other signs of wear. Do not overload circuits; use a power strip instead.

4)      Replace Open-flame Candles with LED Tea Lights. With flammable holiday decorations covering tabletops and mantles, lighting real candles can be an invitation to disaster. Instead, choose battery-operated candles, like LED tea lights. They flicker just like the real thing and are an important part of home fire protection. Just ask my neighbor Jolene!

5)      Test Your Smoke Detectors. Jolene’s smoke detector saved her from suffering serious burns or even dying. Stay safe by installing a smoke detector on every floor in your house. If possible, each bedroom should also have its own detector for added home fire protection. Replace the batteries twice per year and practice family fire drills.

For more details on the causes and best ways to prevent cooking-related home fires, we can go right to the source (the NFPA) for this article.

According to a new report released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking remains top cause of home structure fires.  U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 371,700 home structure fires annually between 2006 and 2010. These fires caused an estimated average of 2,590 civilian deaths and $7.2 billion in direct property damage yearly.

And for the latest stats and recommendation on fires related to home heating devices, check this article.

A 2010 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report shows the leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.

FrontPoint takes fire protection seriously – which is why we recommend at least one monitored smoke and heat sensor with every system we provide. We also don’t charge extra for fire monitoring, as some of our competitors do. That’s because we care about your life safety issues as much as we do about intrusion detection and the other benefits of interactive monitoring and home automation. That’s just one more reason why FrontPoint is the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. Give us a call, and find out why all the reviews say the same great things about the peace of mind you get with a FrontPoint system: safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And take these important fire safety tips to heart!

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