Stop, drop, and learn about fire safety!

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FireIt’s winter and the local news items are regularly featuring fires as accidents happen while we try to stay warm.

Fire – it’s a REAL threat. These Top Ten Tips really could save your life. Make yourself do them and practice fire escapes often.

Smoke detectors

Working smoke detectors can alert you to a fire in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping. Test detectors every month, following the manufacturer’s directions, and replace batteries once a year or whenever a detector chirps to signal low battery power. Never borrow a smoke detector’s battery for another use — a disabled detector can’t save your life. Replace detectors that are more than 10 years old. You know you SHOULD do all this. But when was the last time you actually did it?

Keep an eye on smokers

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be fatal. Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays, and soak cigarette butts with water before discarding them. Before going to bed or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.

Cook carefully

Never leave cooking unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles, and wear clothes with rolled-up or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can’t bump them and children can’t grab them. Enforce a “kid-free zone” that is a yard around your kitchen stove. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat source. Leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.

Plan your escape from fire

If a fire breaks out in your home, you have to get out fast. Be sure that everyone knows at least two unobstructed ways out — doors and windows — from every room. Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will gather after they escape. Have your entire household practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

Give space heaters space

Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn. Keep children and pets away from heaters, and never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed.

Remember: matches and lighters are tools, not toys!

Store all matches and lighters up high, where kids can’t see or reach them. Teach young children not to touch them and to tell a grownup if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches and lighters to an adult immediately.

Cool a burn

Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes – not less!. Never apply ice. Do not put butter or any other grease on the burn because it can damage the tissue further.

Use electricity safely

Unplug an electric appliance immediately if it has an unusual smell. Don’t overload extension cords or run them under rugs. Don’t tamper with your fuse box or use improperly sized fuses.

Crawl low under smoke

If you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor.

Stop, drop, and roll

If your clothes catch fire, don’t run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames. Teach this to kids. Play it with them.

Fire is a real danger, but there are steps you can take to ensure your safety. Make sure you are aware of the danger, and ready to react quickly in an emergency!