Know the risks of home fires and how to prevent them

Tips to help keep you and your family safe

Did you know that 2/3 of deaths from fires happen in homes with no smoke alarms or where smoke alarms aren’t working? This week is Fire Prevention Week, and we want to share tips to help keep you and your family safe.

Smoke detectors can save lives, but only if they’re working properly. The Electrical Safety Foundation International recommends that you:

  • Test the batteries in your smoke detectors monthly, and replace the batteries at least yearly.
  • Replace the smoke detector itself every 10 years.
  • Install at least one smoke detector for every floor of your house, outside each sleeping area and in every bedroom.

Here are some other tips from ESFI:

Avoid counterfeit electrical products – Counterfeit electrical products are a growing problem. ESFI reports that over the past decade, U.S. seizures of counterfeit products have increased more than 325 percent. Cheap cell phone chargers may look like a bargain, but they could damage your phone or cause a fire. Never buy electrical products that don’t have the mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL, CSA or ETL.

Install AFCI Outlets – Arc fault circuit interrupters are advanced outlets that shut down power when unsafe conditions are detected. They can reduce the chance of an electrical fire.

Safely use extension cords – Don’t overload an outlet or extension cord, and never use one that has been damaged. More than 3,000 home fires are caused each year by extension cords, according to ESFI.

Pay attention to switches and outlets – Are your switches and outlets working properly? Do they make crackling, buzzing or sizzling sounds? If you notice anything unusual about your switches and outlets, contact a qualified electrician immediately to have them inspected.

Stay safe in the kitchen – Cooking is a leading cause of home fires. Never leave a child alone when you’re cooking or when an electrical appliance is within reach. Don’t leave the stove or toaster oven unattended.

Maintain your clothes dryers – Clean the lint filter after each use, and be sure to keep your vents clear of lint buildup. The lint will reduce the efficiency of your dryer, but more importantly, could cause a fire.

Be cautious when using space heaters – Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable material such as furniture and blankets. Avoid using extension cords if possible and never leave space heaters turned on while unattended.


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