Do you know what the most frequent disaster in the United States is?
Home fires. According to the American Red Cross, on average, seven people die and more than 30 people suffer injuries from a home fire each day. Home fires also cause more than $7 billion in property damage each year.
Heating fires are the second leading cause of home fires. Fixed and portable space heaters (including wood stoves) are involved in 74 percent of fire-related fatalities. Nearly half of U.S. families use alternative heating sources like space heaters, wood/coal stoves, or fireplaces to stay warm. Over 200 people die each year from carbon monoxide produced by fuel burning appliances.
Keep reading to learn how to prevent home fires and why smoke alarms are crucial.
Home Heating Fire Prevention Tips
Keep all potentially flammable items like paper, clothing, bedding, and rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, fireplaces, or stoves. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Turn off space heaters before going to bed or leaving your home. If you use a space heater, only place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface such as ceramic tile floor. Keep children and pets away from heat sources.
Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home. Get your stove, fireplace, chimney, and/or furnace professionally inspected and cleaned annually. Use a glass or metal fire screen to catch sparks and rolling logs in your fireplace.
Smoke Alarms Save Lives
Working smoke alarms can cut your risk of dying in a home fire by half. Make sure that your smoke alarms are installed properly and test them at least once a month. They should be located on every level of your home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas.
Most smoke alarms are effective for 10 years. Replace the devices when they reach this age, as they become less sensitive over time.
Prepare for the Holidays
The winter holidays are often celebrated indoors. Christmas trees and other decorative items can be fire safety risks. Make sure they are placed at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces and heat vents.
Check light strings and other holiday decorations to make sure they’re in good condition; don’t use anything with frayed electrical cords. Unplug the tree and other holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed. Don’t use lit candles as tree decorations. Always put candles out before going to bed or leaving the room. Keep items that can catch on fire (oven mitts, packaging, towels, etc.) away from your stove top.
If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.