HKQ Kids

Fire Safety

As fall ushers in another cold Pennsylvanian winter, it’s likely your home is going to require a few modifications to keep everyone warm and toasty; it’s the season for turning on the furnace, space heaters, candles and fireplaces. It’s important that you stay wary. Heating issues and fires are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the home, and this becomes more common from December to February each year. For the well-being of both yourself and your family, check out these tips to keep everyone safe and warm this winter.

  • Space heaters are responsible for winter house fires about ⅓ of the time; 80% of the time a house fire is fatal, it’s in part due to a space heater, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Because of this, establish a “three feet rule” concerning space heaters, whether they’re portable or built into a wall. If you wouldn’t want something too close to a fireplace, you don’t want it that close to a space heater either; keep children and any combustible materials away from the area.
  • Speaking of fireplaces, do not leave one unattended. Ideally, you want to have a sturdy screen or gate, both to prevent kids from getting too close, and to keep sparks from flying into the room.
  • Especially be aware of the status of any and all heating apparatuses before going to sleep. The risk of injury or death is considerably higher if a fire starts while you’re sleeping; turn off space heaters and blow out candles when leaving the house and/or going to sleep.
  • Concerning the kitchen, never leave open flames unattended when cooking. And keep the three-foot rule in mind when it comes to the oven, too.
  • Keep any wire-heavy areas (like behind TVs) clean and untangled, and if possible, keep from overloading any power strips. Frayed wires can lead to electrical fires. Don’t have cords underneath any rugs or in the way of high-traffic areas.
  • Make it a point to regularly have your water heater and furnace inspected, preferably on a yearly basis.
  • Of course, make it a habit to keep matches and lighters far out of reach from curious kids. Teach them that they’re not toys. Don’t purchase brightly colored novelty lighters that may attract little fingers.
  • In the event of a fire, it is crucial that your home has working smoke detectors/alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This can cut down the chance of a fire-related incident becoming fatal by 50%. Every floor of the home should have smoke alarms, and especially near/inside bedrooms. Check them regularly in case their batteries need changing, and make sure they’re no more than 10 years old; any older and they have expired.
  • If or when smoke alarms go off, make sure your family has a plan, and that your children can recognize the sound of the alarm and what it means. It can’t hurt to practice a family fire drill; teach your kids to get low and to go toward the nearest, safest exit (and plan around using more than just one exit). Stop, drop, and roll is still as true and effective as ever. Have a planned family meet-up spot outside but near the home.

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