Posts Tagged ‘Fire Safety’

Fire Hazards: Appliances

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Next in our series of common fire hazards is the appliances in your home. Did you know that heating equipment (like space heaters) are involved in 1 of every 6 home fires? Appliances are safe when used correctly, so here are some fire hazards to look out for:

  • Keep everything that gives off heat at least 3 feet away from flammable materials or items.
  • Don’t plug more than one heating appliance into the same outlet.
  • Keep portable gas generators outside and away from windows to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you have a fireplace, be sure to have your chimney checked and cleaned once a year by a professional.
  • Don’t leave fires (or candles) burning or heating appliances plugged in while you’re asleep, in another room, or when you’re not home.
  • Clean the lint screen every time you use your dryer. Dryers are responsible for about 9 out of 10 appliance fires.

Holiday Fires

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Residential fires during the holiday season are more common and more deadly than at any other time of the year. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports more than double the number of open-flame fires on Christmas Day than on an average day, and about twice as many on New Year’s Day. To keep your home, family, and visitors safe, here are the fire dangers to watch for this holiday season.



According to the USFA, cooking is the top cause of holiday fires. The most common culprit is food that’s left unattended. With the holidays, families visit and things get busy. Understandably, it’s easy to get distracted but make sure if you are cooking something on the stove that you don’t leave the kitchen and keep a fire extinguisher that’s rated for all types of fires nearby.



According to the National Fire Protection Association, four of the five most dangerous days of the year for residential candle fires are Christmas/Christmas Eve and New Year’s/New Year’s Eve. Fires that start by candles are four times higher during December than during other months of the year. If you light candles for the holidays, maintain about a foot of space between the candle and anything that can burn. Make sure the candle is on a sturdy base and never leave flames unattended. Before bed, walk through each room to make sure candles are blown out. 


If you prefer candles because of the light, you can try using flameless LED candles instead. If you like candles for the scents, you can try use a candle warmer with wax. Both of these option will allow you to not worry about any flames.


Christmas Trees

According to the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Standards and Technology, it takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames. Tom Olshanski, spokesman for the USFA said “They make turpentine out of pine trees. A Christmas tree is almost explosive when it goes.” To minimize risk, buy a fresh tree, get a fresh cut on the trunk, and water it every day. Keep your tree away from heat sources and take it down after the holidays because all trees will start to dry out after about four weeks. Artificial trees don’t pose much of a fire hazard; just make sure yours is flame-retardant.


Decorative Lights

Inspect string lights and throw out any with frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets. When decorating, don’t run more than three strings of lights end to end. Extension cords should be in good condition and UL-rated for indoor and outdoor use. When hanging lights outside, avoid using nails or staples which can damage the wiring and increase risk of fire.


Kids Playing with Matches

The number of fires and deaths caused by children playing with fire increases significantly during the holidays. From January to March, 13% of fire deaths are the result of children playing with fire and in December, that percentage doubles, the USFA reports. So you’ll want to keep matches and lighters out of kids’ reach.



Soot can harden on chimney walls as flammable creosote, so before the fireplace season begins, have your chimney inspected to see if it needs cleaning. You’ll want to screen the fireplace while it is lit and never use flammable liquids to start the fire. Only burn seasoned wood in your fireplace–no wrapping paper. 

The holidays are an amazing time filled with love and joy so you’ll want to keep your family safe. By following these tips, you can minimize the risk of fires and make great memories with your loved ones.

Fire Hazards: In the Kitchen

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Fires are common and can start at any time. Do you know the different fire hazards and things to watch for in your home? In our next few blog posts, we will cover fire hazards that you will want to watch for.


Most residential fires start in the kitchen, while cooking. The following things should help prevent kitchen fires:


  • Be sure to stay in the kitchen when cooking, grilling, or frying anything.

  • Don’t have curtains, paper towels dispensers, or towel racks sitting too close to the burners.

  • If you don’t have a built-in microwave, make sure that there is no clutter around it and that the vents are not covered.

  • Have a fire extinguisher close and within easy reach in case of a fire.

  • Don’t put water on a grease fire if you don’t have an extinguisher! If a fire starts in a pan, then cover the pan with a lid to suffocate the flames.

Grease Fires Part 2

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Preventing Grease Fires

Now that you know what a grease fire is and how to put it out, you may be wondering how to prevent a one. One good tip is to be mindful of when a grease fire may occur such as holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. But here are some extra precautions you should follow to prevent a grease fire.

  1. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.

  2. Be alert and do not use the stove or stovetop if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol.

  3. Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.

  4. Remove as much moisture as possible from food before putting it in hot oil. Do not put frozen foods into hot grease.

  5. Keep the grease at the recommended temperature. If you see any smoke of the oil smells, it is an indication that it is too hot. Immediately turn off the burner to let it cool down.

  6. Heat the oil slowly.

  7. Add food gently to prevent splatter.

  8. Keep a lid near the pan you’re cooking with so that it is accessible if a fire starts.

  9. Always keep children away from the stove while cooking.


If you haven’t read our other post about what to do if you have a grease fire, you can access the article here.  Just remember to be aware of your surroundings and on guard while you are cooking so you can act quickly if a fire starts.

Teaching Children about Fire Safety

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

What should you teach your children about fire safety? It may be easiest to teach them to never play with fire, but here are some other important things you can teach them:

  1. Matches and lighters are not toys.

  2. Don’t play with electrical cords or stick anything in an electrical socket.

  3. Don’t put anything over a lamp. Thing like blankets or towels could catch fire.

  4. If they hear the fire alarm, to get out of the house and to meet you at the designated spot immediately. Teach them “Don’t hide, get outside.” Lots of children will want to come find you, so be sure they know to not look for you and to leave the house and go to the meeting spot.

  5. If they or their clothes are on fire, to stop, drop, and roll.

  6. Teach them “fall and crawl” to protect themselves from breathing too much smoke.

  7. Teach them to check the door to see if it is hot. If it is, have them use a different escape route because there is probably on the other side and they should not open the door.

  8. Make sure they understand to call 911 if there is a fire and they need help, after they get outside.


Depending on how old your child is, will decide how much information you give them but it is important that they understand that fire is dangerous. Once you have a fire escape plan, you can make it a game for your kids and time them to see if they can beat their previous time. This will help them practice and so they can do it quickly when it matters.

Grease Fires Part 1

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

What is a grease fire and what do I do to put it out?

One of the most common types of household fires are grease fires. Cooking causes 160,000 home structure fires annually and two-thirds started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials, often ignited by grease. What’s the difference between a grease fire and an apartment fire?

Thirty seconds.

P/C State Farm

It only takes 30 seconds for a grease fire to get out of control beyond the point of being put out with a fire extinguisher. Because there is such a short amount of time for you to act and put out a grease fire, you’ll want to know exactly what to do and what not to do so you can react quickly.

If a grease fire starts:

  1. Cover the flames with a metal lid or cookie sheet. Leave the cover on until it has cooled.

  2. Turn off the heat source.

  3. If it’s small and manageable, pour baking soda or salt on it to smother the fire. (Do not use similar items such as flour or baking powder as they are not the same chemical makeup and will make the fire worse.)

  4. As a last resort, spray the fire with a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher.

  5. Do not try to extinguish the fire with water. (Because water and oil don’t mix, it splashes the grease around and often makes things worse.)

  6. Do not attempt to move the pot or pan outside.

  7. If your cabinets are on fire, get out and call 911.


What do I teach my kids about what to do if there is a fire?

Friday, July 6th, 2018

Teaching children what to do in the case of a fire is important so they can be safe and know how they can get out of the house or apartment. If you have younger children and infants, designate someone to get them out safely. You’ll also want to have a back up plan for small children just in case the primary person is overcome by smoke and can’t reach them.


For children that are old enough to get out safely, teach them…

  1. What a fire alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear it.

  2. Your fire escape plan. Make sure they know two exits out of every room.

  3. To “get low and go” so they don’t breathe a lot of smoke.

  4. To feel the door, door knobs, and cracks to see if they are too hot.

  5. Where they should meet you outside of your house.

  6. If they can’t get out, to cover the door cracks and vents and to signal out of their window with a flashlight or something white.


Once you have a fire escape plan, be sure to practice it with your children. You can make it a fun activity and time them and try to get faster and faster each time. You’ll want your kids to know what to do so they can do it quickly because fire is fast. In just two minutes, a fire can be life-threatening. Review what to do with your family often. For example, it can be a quick activity that you do on the first Sunday of each month to make sure everyone still remembers what to do and where to meet. And don’t forget to make new plans if you move into a new house or if it is necessary for any other reason.