Top Tips to Help Prevent a Fire in Your Home During the Winter
Did you know that at least one child dies from a home fire every day? Or that ninety percent of all fire-related deaths are due to home fires? Sadly, many of these deaths could have been prevented.
It’s easy to forget some basic fire safety precautions. Safe Kids Kalamazoo County provides these simple tips to reduce the risk of a home fire:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside every sleeping area and in each bedroom. Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. Use daylight savings time as a reminder to change the batteries once a year.
- Teach kids never to play with matches or lighters and to be careful around open flames such as fireplaces or candles.
- Create a fire escape plan that includes two ways out of your home. Get a timer and practice until your family is out of the house in two minutes or less. Here is a worksheet to help you get started.
- Children should know how to respond to the sound of a smoke alarm. Tell them to “get low and go” when they hear it.
- Never leave a hot oven or stove top unattended.
James Kraatz, MD, FACS, trauma surgeon and medical director of Bronson Wound Center & Hyperbaric Medicine - Kalamazoo, says, “A lot of home fires begin in the kitchen. Some of the best things you can do to prevent a kitchen fire are to be attentive while preparing food and to use common sense. Don’t wear loose sleeves while cooking and keep anything else that can burn, such as pot holders and oven mitts, away from the stovetop. If you do have a fire while cooking, turn off the heat and cover burning pots until they are out. Don’t try to take them outside. If you have children, use the back burners whenever possible. And never leave the kitchen when cooking something on the stovetop – even for a few minutes. That’s all it takes for a dangerous fire to start.”
Dr. Kraatz recommends these additional tips to keep your family safe this season and all year long:
- Avoid plugging in too many cords into the same electrical socket
- Store flammable materials away from heat sources and out of the reach of children
- Have an ABC fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it. PASS is a great acronym to remember: Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can catch on fire – never on a flammable surface. Never, ever leave a burning candle unattended.
For more information on fire prevention, download the Home Fire Safety Checklist. It will only take about 20 minutes to go through your home and is a great tool to use with your kids.
This article is brought to you by Bronson Children’s Hospital, southwest Michigan’s only children’s hospital. For more information about children’s health, visit bronsonhealth.com/children.