Give space heaters plenty of space. Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from any material that will burn such as furniture, draperies, beds & bedding and wooden walls.
Never use a cook stove to heat your house or apartment. The radiated heat from the burners or the open oven can set nearby walls or cabinets on fire.
Make sure your central heating system is checked by a qualified service technician every few years. Space heaters should be cleaned annually to prevent the build-up of dust or foreign debris. Gas heaters should burn with a clean blue flame. If the flame is yellow, the heater is not working properly and should be checked.
Don't overload electric outlets. Multi-plug strips can be hazardous if too many devices are plugged into them. Avoid using extension cords on large appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, or electric heaters.
Never store gasoline, camp fuel, or propane cylinders indoors or in attached garages. Leaking fumes or gasses can cause a flash fire or explosion. Keep fuels outdoors or in an outdoor storage building. Keep such fuels away from children.
Keep lighters and matches away from children. Kids are naturally curious and will sometimes try to use these items without adult supervision. Matches and lighters should always be stored where small children cannot get to them.
Burning candles are a very real fire hazard. Never leave burning candles unattended and NEVER sleep with candles burning in the home. Many home fires are caused by candles falling over, or being knocked over by pets or unsupervised children. Candles with multiple wicks should not be used, as these have been shown to burn out of control when the large pool of melted wax becomes hot enough to ignite. The resulting fire can quickly spread to nearby materials.
Have a portable fire extinguisher available in the home. The recommended size and type is a 5 lb. ABC All-Purpose dry chemical. Fire extinguishers are available at all hardware and home product stores. Extinguishers should be properly mounted in a conspicuous location rather than being tucked away in a cabinet where they are not visible.
Install and maintain smoke detectors. Every home should have a smoke detector in each bedroom and in the area immediately outside of the bedrooms (hallway). Smoke detectors should be checked for proper function once a month. Battery powered detectors need to have fresh batteries installed annually. A good reminder is to change the batteries when you set your clocks back in the Fall. "Change your clock...change your batteries".
Have a home fire escape plan. Everyone should know two ways out of where they sleep. Make sure windows are operable and can be opened from the inside for emergency escape. Discuss the home escape plan and practice it often, especially with small children who live in the home. Never go back into a burning building once you have made your escape.
Cooking fires are very common and result in numerous home fires. Always have a tight-fitting lid nearby when using a skillet. In the event of a grease fire, slide the lid over the skillet, turn off the stove and call 911 as you evacuate the home.
Cool a burn with plain cold tap water then apply ice. Never apply greasy or oil-based products to a burn as these will have to be scrubbed off if the burn requires medical attention. Always check bath water for children to make sure it's not too hot. Set your water heater to no more than 100 degrees. Take burns seriously, especially when children are involved. What seems like a minor burn may actually develop into a serious medical condition. Seek medical attention if the skin is blistered or peeled.
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