We’ve all heard Benjamin Franklin’s famous line…

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

But you know what? When it comes to Fire Prevention, it’s so true. Just ask a Firefighter.

October is National Fire Safety Month!

And October 7-13 is National Fire Prevention Week.

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What can you do to prevent a dangerous and damaging fire? Here are some tips! 

  • Put a smoke alarm on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom.
  • If you have hearing problems, use alarms with flashing strobe lights and vibration.
  • Test smoke alarms every month. Test your smoke alarms and practice your escape plan at night to see if your child will wake up and respond to the alarm. Children sleep more deeply and may not wake up. If your child does not wake up to the alarm, try an alarm where you can program your voice to alert him or her.
  • Replace batteries once a year, even if alarms are hardwired.
  • Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings since smoke rises. Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed at least 4 inches away from the nearest wall. Wall-mounted alarms should be installed 4 to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
  • Plan and practice several escape routes and a safe place to meet outside.
  • Plan and practice two escape routes out of each room of the house. It is important to have an alternate escape route in case one is blocked by fire.
  • Fire drills should be practiced at least twice a year. Home fires and home fire-related deaths are more likely to occur during cold-weather months, December through February.
  • Designate an outside meeting place, so all members of the family can be accounted for quickly. Once you are outside, call the fire department or 911 from a cell phone or neighbor’s phone.
  • Teach safety. A child who is coached properly ahead of time may have a better chance of surviving.
  • Teach children never to go back into a burning building for anything such as a toy or pet, and to call the fire department or 911 from a neighbor’s home or a cell phone outside.
  • Teach children that if their clothes catch on fire, they should immediately stop, drop to the ground and roll themselves back and forth quickly to extinguish the flames.
  • Take children to your local fire station for a tour. Children will be able to see a firefighter in full gear and learn that he or she is someone who saves children – not someone to be afraid of or hide from.
  • Teach children to never touch or play with matches, candles, gasoline or lighters.
  • Check the kitchen for preventable hazards and supervise children at all times in the kitchen.
  • Keep children away from cooking and heating appliances. Never leave the kitchen while cooking and never leave a child alone.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.
  • Cook with pots and pans on back burners. Turn handles away from the front.
  • Keep matches, lighters, and gasoline locked away and out of children’s reach. Keep flammable items such as clothing, furniture, newspapers or magazines at least three feet away from the fireplace, heater or radiator.
  • Store all flammable liquids such as gasoline outside of the home.
  • Place space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can catch fire such as curtains or papers.
  • Always turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Plug an electric space heater into an outlet with enough capacity. Never plug it into an extension cord.
  • Place covers over unused electrical outlets and avoid plugging several appliance cords into the same electrical socket.
  • Replace old or frayed electrical wires and appliance cords, and keep them on top of, not beneath rugs.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Place candles in a safe location away from combustible materials and where children or pets cannot tip them over.
  • Have chimneys cleaned and inspected once a year.

Live in a dorm or other university housing? Click here for tips on preventing fires and planning a safe course of action!

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