Accidental fires are unusual. Its really easy to overlook everyday hazards that can cause a fire. As we near the holidays, there seems to always be bad news related to a family and a fire.
Here are some general tips to help prevent accidental fires, whether at home or at work:
1. Make sure you have portable fire extinguishers and know where they are located. Make sure they are fully charged and accessible to everyone.
2. Smoke in designated places only. Always dispose of cigarette butts in receptacles that are designated for cigarette butts. (Many work places have banned smoking or have designated an area for smoking)
3. Keep all waste such as cardboard, newspapers, magazines and similar combustible materials cleaned up. Do not accumulate items like this and create a fire hazard, rather, recycle these materials immediately.
4. Discard any rags you have used with flammable or combustible liquids, oil, or grease in covered, containers.
5. Dispense flammable liquids only in areas free from sparks and flames.
6. Keep all containers of flammable liquids closed or covered when they are not in use. Store them in designated areas and return them to that area when you are done with it.
7. Unless you are a welder or trained and know how to use them, don't use torches, grinders or fireworks!
8. If your home or office has sprinkler heads, make sure you don't stack materials in front of them. Maintain a clearance of at least 18 inches below the level of the sprinkler heads. Don't ever hang things on a sprinkler head, like a dress or suit jacket.
9. Don't overload outlets. This is especially important with all of our technology these days or Christmas lights. Pay attention to instructions.
10. Burning brush, make sure you have a permit to start a fire if you live in a area that requires a burn permit. No permit required where you live, assess whether the conditions the safe. Wind, stay at least 75 feet away from any structures, don't use a fire accelerator and don't ever leave a fire unattended.
11. Make sure your smoke alarms work. Change the battery in your alarm annually on a designated day.
12. Make sure children cannot find and play with lighters and matches in your home, garage or office.
As we head into the holidays, pay a little more attention to these things. Accidental fires can be prevented, lets do what we can to make sure everyone stays safe.