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Top Fire Safety Tips for Families

A child dressed in a firefighter costumeAccording to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments in the United States responded to around 366,600 home structure fires every year between 2007 and 2011. These fire accidents resulted in an average of 2,570 civilian deaths and 13,210 civilian injuries per year, as well as $7.2 billion in direct property damage annually. These are very serious numbers that every family should take seriously.

At Kennedy Carpet, we are not only experts in carpet cleaning services, we also specialize in fire and smoke damage restoration for both residential and commercial properties in Boston and surrounding areas in Massachusetts. In this article, we give you a number of fire safety tips you can follow in order to protect your loved ones from the dangers of fire accidents.

Cooking – The NFPA notes that the use of cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires in the country, causing a staggering 43% of all home fire cases. It is also the number one cause of civilian injuries, accounting for 38% of all cases.

To be safe in the kitchen, make sure to never leave your cooking unattended, and never let the food overcook, especially when you are frying. If a grease fire occurs, never douse the fire with water because you could get severely injured from the fireball that the action may create. Cover the fire instead with a pan lid to deprive it of oxygen and to extinguish it. Never cook when you are sleepy or inebriated.

Heating equipment – Heating equipment accidents caused 16% of home structure fires and 19% of civilian deaths due to domestic fires in the United States. These equipment include fireplaces, chimneys, chimney connectors, portable and stationary space heaters, central heating units, and water heaters. Make sure to clean chimneys regularly in order to prevent the accumulation of creosote. Furthermore, never place combustible materials near any heating equipment. These include drapes, upholstered furniture, rugs, carpeting, clothing, and bedding materials.

Electrical equipment – Fires due to electrical distribution and lighting equipment caused 6% of home structure fires and 13% of civilian deaths due to domestic fires from 2007 to 2011.

Make sure that your electrical system is properly working by having a professional electrician check it out. Also have arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) installed in your home so that electricity can be automatically shut off when an arcing condition occurs. If you experience abnormalities like flickering lights, breaking circuits, blowing fuses, disfigured or discolored outlets, and switches that are hot to the touch, get professional help immediately.

Smoking – Smoking-material accidents are the fifth leading cause of domestic fires, accounting for 5% of all reported cases between 2007 and 2011. They are, however the leading cause of civilian deaths, with 22% of cases occurring because of them. Take note that a quarter of the fatal victims were killed by smoking-related fires that were caused by other people’s negligence.

The most common materials ignited by cigarettes in homes include trash, mattresses, and beddings. The NFPA recommends that smokers should smoke outdoors and use deep and wide ashtrays to contain the cigarettes. They should also make sure that cigarette butts are completely extinguished before they are disposed of. Dousing them with water or sand is good way to make sure that they are out. Never smoke when you are sleepy or drunk and if medical oxygen is being used inside the home. 

Dryers and washing machines – Dryers and washing machines caused 4% of home structure fires. Make sure that your dryer is installed and regularly cleaned and serviced by a professional.

Candles – Candles caused 3% of home structure fires during the same period. Make sure to put out candles before sleeping and never leave them unattended. Also never leave combustible materials candles. If you must use a candle, keep it in a metal and glass lantern.