Ahh fall- there's a new crispness in the air, the leaves are starting to change and the days are getting shorter. It's the perfect weather for toasting marshmallows outside on the fire pit, getting all those pesky leaves out of the yard, and throwing a couple of logs on the fire. However, all of those activities present new opportunities for fire accidents to occur. Here are a few tips worth remembering to help you keep your family and home safe from fires.
1. 60% of house fire deaths occur in homes without a working smoke detector. Make sure your home has a smoke detector outside of each bedroom and near the kitchen.
2. Test your smoke detectors once a month to make sure they are in good working order.
3. Once a year, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. When the batteries go dead, smoke detectors make a telltale "chirping" noise to let you know they need to be replaced.
4. Replace your smoke smoke detectors every 10 years. If you can't remember how long it's been since they were replaced, just look at the manufacturing date on the back.
5. Once or twice a year, go over the emergency plan with your family- make sure everyone has at least two ways to escape from the house, that children know how to call 911, and that you have a safe meeting point outside of the home.
6. When using an outdoor fire pit or campfire, make sure the fire is completely out by pouring water over the hot coals. Never start an outdoor fire on a windy day and make sure there is a water source handy.
7. Dispose of leaves and yard waste by either adding them to compost or by bagging and placing them on the curb for pick up. Burning yard waste is not only dangerous, but it also adds pollutants to the air.
8. If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, collect ashes in a metal ash bucket with a lid and wait a few days before emptying the ashes outside. Hot coals can ignite a fire up to 24 hours after being dumped outside, and can be hard to see when mixed with the ashes.
9. Keep at least one fire extinguisher in your home (preferably in or near the kitchen) and make sure everyone knows how to use it. Just remember PASS- Pull the pin, Aim the hose, Squeeze the trigger, and Sweep back and forth across the fire.
10. Always keep things like lighters and matches out of children's reach and make sure they understand just how dangerous fire can be.
11. If a grease fire starts in the kitchen on the stove, the best course of action is to cover the pan with a lid and turn off the heat. Never try to put water on it- it will make the fire spread.
12. If your clothes catch fire, the best thing you can do is Stop, Drop and Roll to put out the flames. Never run- it will only make the fire worse.