There’s No Place like Home - What if you couldn’t go there?
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According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 414,000 home structure fires reported in the United States in 2007. Many of these individuals were not able to return to their homes for months, due to the damage that was sustained in the fire. There were 2,865 fire death victims that never got to go home again. There were 13,600 people injured in home fires and over 7.389 billion dollars in home fire damage alone. Fire District #1 – Johnson County along with the Johnson County Fire and Emergency Services Chief’s Association do not want you or your loved ones to become a statistic. October 5-12, 2008 has been designated as National Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme is “Preventing Home Fires”. We offer the following suggestions to make sure that your home is safe.

  • Make sure that you have a working smoke alarm on each floor level and one in each bedroom.
  • Change the battery in your smoke alarm whenever you change your clock for daylight savings.
  • Develop a fire escape plan which shows two ways out of each room and designate a meeting place outside.
  • Purchase a fire escape ladder if you must exit from a second story window.
  • Service your furnace and make sure all heating appliances are working properly.
  • Keep space heaters a minimum of 3 feet away from combustibles.
  • Clean your chimney before starting a fire in your fireplace and use a screen in front of it.
  • Make sure your address is a minimum of 4” tall and has contrasting colors to the house, so it is clearly visible from the street.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets by plugging too many electrical devices into it.
  • Do not use extension cords as permanent wiring and never run electrical cords under a rug.
  • Loose, frayed or broken wiring is replaced.
  • All outlets and switches must have covers installed and install child safety plugs if you have little kids.
  • Install Ground Fault Current Interrupt or (GFCI) receptacles any time that electrical outlets are closer than 5 feet to a sink or tub.
  • Store flammable liquids in the proper container and away from heat sources, preferably in a cabinet or shed.
  • Keep matches and lighters secured so that small children can not access them.
  • Turn your hot water tank down to 120 degrees to prevent scalds from occurring.
  • When cooking, never leave the stove unattended and keep a lid nearby to extinguish any pan fires.
  • Do not store anything on top of the stove and keep pot handles turned inward when cooking.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended and keep them out of the reach of small children.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Electric blankets should not be tucked under mattresses or folded.

Don’t become a fire statistic. Check your home for fire and life safety hazards before it’s too late. If you have questions, please contact your local fire department about assistance with a home safety evaluation.