As the New Year approaches, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue offers these important tips from the National Fire Protection Association on how to prevent fires in your home and how to get out safely if one occurs.
- Keep an eye on the stovetop
Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Always have a lid nearby to slide over a pan in case of fire. Clean up food and grease from burners and thestovetop.
- Give space heaters space
Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
- Smoke outside
Ask smokers to smoke outside. Provide sturdy, deep ashtrays and make sure cigarette butts and ashes are out before emptying the ashtray.
- Keep matches and lighters in a locked cabinet
Keep matches and lighters out of sight and locked up to prevent children from getting hold of them.
- Inspect electrical cords
Inspect electrical cords to make sure they are not pinched behind furniture, under rugs or stretched. Replace cords that are cracked or frayed, have broken plugs or have loose connections.
- Be careful when using candles
Keep candles at least one foot away from anything that can burn and put them out before leaving the room or going to sleep. Never leave a child unattended in a room with a burning candle.
- Have a home fire escape plan
Make a home fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year so everyone knows what to do in a fireemergency.
- Install smoke alarms
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Make sure everyone knows the sound of the alarm. For the best protection, install interconnected smoke alarms in each bedroom and throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Test smoke alarms
Test alarms at least once a month and replace their batteries once a year or when an alarm “chirps” to tell you the battery is low. Replace any smoke alarm that is more than10 years old. Replace smoke alarms that use “long-life”(10-year) batteries when the alarm chirps. The batteries in these unitscannot be replaced.
- Get low and go
If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.
Additional tips, information and materials for educators and children about fire prevention and safety can be found on the National Fire Protection Association’s website at www.nfpa.org.