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Fire Prevention Tips
Posted On: Dec 22, 2007

Fire Prevention Tips

Most people know the basics, but those messages can save lives and bear repeating. Below are 10 reminders. If these guidelines are followed, a significant reduction in residential fires and subsequent damages could result.

1) Install smoke detectors in your home and test them regularly. You should have detectors on each floor of your home, in all rooms, and in a corridor outside bedrooms. It also is suggested that batteries are changed at least once a year and that smoke detectors are tested every month.

2) Draw up a home escape plan and review it with your family. Smoke, toxic gasses and fire can fill your home quickly. Residents should leave the structure immediately via their preplanned escape route. Each room should have two potential exits. Teach your family to meet at a designated location after exiting the home and never go back into a burning structure to retrieve something.

3) Never leave cooking unattended. Unattended cooking is one of the most common causes of residential fires. In addition to keeping an eye on your cooking, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and keep pan handles turned inwards. If a grease fire does start, the best way to extinguish it is by placing a tight-fitting lid over the top. It also is a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen (on the exit side of the room) and know how to use it.

4) Teach your children not to play with matches and lighters. Most children have a natural curiosity about fire, but should be taught that matches and lighters are tools, not toys. Teach them to tell a grown-up if they see them in an unsafe place.

5) Use electrical appliances safely. Do not overload outlets or plug multiple appliances into extension cords. Cords should be free of knots and kinks; avoid running them under rugs or across walkways. A good rule of thumb with extension cords use is that it is at least the same size in diameter as the appliance cord. Unplug heat-producing appliances when they are not in use.

6) Take care when using heating devices. A three-foot clearance around portable heating devices is recommended. Maintain the device properly, including ensuring the wires are in good condition. Never attempt to dry clothes on or near a heater. Always turn off a portable room heater before going to bed.

7) Safely discard smoking materials. Thoroughly extinguish smoking materials in ashtrays that are cleaned out regularly. Do not throw smoking materials in the trash or out of car windows.

8) Use good habits when burning candles. Candles should be extinguished when leaving the room or going to bed. They should be kept out of the reach of children and away from pets.

9) Store flammable materials safely. Use approved containers for all flammable and combustible liquids. Keep them away from ignition sources (appliances with pilot lights, etc.). Ventilation and avoidance of heat build-up in the storage area should be maintained.

10) Do not burn trash or leaves. It not only can be unsafe, it's illegal in the Town of Westport.  Brush burning season is from January 15th to May 1st.

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