October is Fire Prevention Month, and Fire Prevention Week ran from October 4-10, 2020. The goal of both of these annual events is to increase awareness about fire safety and to emphasize the importance of having a fire preparedness plan in place. Fire Prevention Week is one of the longest-running public health observances in the United States, observed in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), cooking and heating are the leading cause of house fires and burn injuries, with peak fire-related deaths occurring during the winter months. Fire is also a leading cause of death for young children, age one to 14. Fortunately, homeowners, renters and families can take a variety of steps to increase fire safety and awareness around the house.
- Create a family escape plan. The entire family should know exactly what to do and where to go in the event of a fire. This includes any family pets. Run through your exit plan on a regular basis to ensure it’s always fresh in everyone’s minds.
- Fire extinguishers. Keep a working fire extinguisher on every level of your home, especially the kitchen. Keep it within reach near the stove or under the sink.
- Fireplace safety. Ensure everyone in your home, including children, understand how to be safe around your fireplace and put out the fire completely before bed at night. Have your chimney and flue inspected regularly for safety.
- Halloween and holiday decorations. Consider skipping the candles and use LED lights instead. Check for frayed extension cords and wires, and do not overload electrical outlets. If you have a real Christmas tree, ensure it does not dry out, as it could easily and quickly catch fire.
- Gas. You should never be able to smell gas in your home, even if you have gas appliances or heat. Always check that appliance knobs are fully turned off. Never hesitate to call the gas company if you think you smell gas, and open your windows while you are waiting for them to arrive.
- Kitchen dangers. As many house fires are caused by cooking, it’s important to never leave a stove or oven unattended when in use. If a grease fire occurs, use baking soda to put it out. Never use water – it just makes a grease fire spread.
- Know how and when to call for safety. Show your kids how to call 911 or the fire department for help once they are safely outside. Have an emergency meet-up spot for the entire family.
- Smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are a crucial component of any fire safety plan. Install them on every level of your home, as well as the basement and bedrooms. Remember to test the alarms once a month and replace the batteries each year. Consider a carbon monoxide detector as well.
The attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP are dedicated to protecting our clients from fire and other catastrophic disasters. If you need help recovering compensation for a burn injury, we can help. To schedule your free case evaluation, call our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.
Steve Lowry is an award-winning litigator who has secured record-setting jury verdicts on behalf of his clients. A passionate advocate for individuals who have been harmed by the actions of others, Steve has won numerous top 10 verdicts in Georgia.
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