Fire In Your Home!


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How safe are you? Take this quiz.

Cigarettes cause fatal firesPick the correct answer:

  1. According to FEMA, what is the leading cause of residential fires in the U.S.?
  • Kitchen fires
  • Smoking
  • Wild fires
  1. What is the leading cause of civilian deaths caused by fire?
  • Kitchen fires
  • Smoking
  • Wild fires

True or False:

  1. Cooking is and has long been the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries.
  2. Most cooking fires and cooking deaths are a result of the heat source being too close to combustibles.
  3. Households that use electric ranges have a higher risk of fires than those using gas ranges.
  4. Fires caused by smoking material (burning tobacco) are on the increase.
  5. The risk of dying in a home structure fire caused by smoking materials rises with age.

The peak day of the year for home cooking fires is: ____________________

The Answers

Here are some statistics to ponder.

In 2012, 36.8% of home fires causing injury started from cooking. (Many more kitchen fires actually take place, but are put out by occupants and not reported.)

That same year, smoking caused 15% of the fires resulting in fatalities, followed closely by carelessness (13%) and then fires set on purpose (12%).

Cooking

Most kitchen fires happen when the cook leaves whatever is cooking unattended. And most of those involve frying on electric ranges

The right portable fire extinguisher can be effectively used to suppress small fires in their beginning stages. However, the extinguisher must be properly rated and needs to be positioned where you can get it quickly and safely.

If you blast a skillet full of flaming cooking grease with the wrong extinguisher, you’ll create a fireball, greatly increasing the size of the fire and threatening you with serious burn injuries.

The day with the most cooking fires? Thanksgiving Day!

Smoking

Three-quarters of deaths due to smoking-material fires involve fires starting in bedrooms (40%) or in living rooms, family rooms, and dens (35%). The item most frequently ignited is trash, but trash doesn’t kill – people die when upholstered furniture catches.

Nearly half (46%) fatal home smoking-material fire victims were age 65 or older.

One out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.

The Action

  • Stop smoking. If you smoke, do it outside. Carefully put out your butts.
  • Be ready in the kitchen.
    1. Clear space around the stove. No mitts, no clipboards, no recipe holders.
    2. Have a lid and/or cookie sheet READY to cover a grease fire. It has to fit SNUGLY on top of the pan, blocking all air.
    3. Have a large box of baking soda handy to dump on and smother a small fire.
    4. Buy a kitchen fire extinguisher and position it between the stove and the door. Be sure you know how to use it. Remember that a powerful fire extinguisher could SPLASH AND SPREAD THE FLAMES if directed too closely at a burning grease fire.
  • If a fire starts in a pan . . .
    1. Try to put it out immediately! It can grow too big to handle within 30 seconds.
    2. Do not move a flaming pan. You could spill flaming grease all across the floor or counter, instantly creating multiple fires!
    3. Cover the stationary pan with a lid, cookie sheet or wet towel. Make sure all air is blocked.
    4. Turn off the burner.
    5. Leave the pan until everything has cooled.
  • If you can’t control the fire at the pan . . .
    1. Be sure other occupants are evacuated.
    2. Use your fire extinguisher. Pull the pin, aim, squeeze and sweep. Start several steps away and approach the fire as you see the effect of the spray.
    3. If not successful, call 911 and leave the home.

Fire is the most common emergency your family is likely to face, so share this information with them! Be sure your children know how to put out a cooking fire, and train older children in the use of a fire extinguisher.

If family members haven’t been trained about how to respond to a fire in the kitchen, they are likely to do the wrong thing!

You can find dramatic videos on YouTube that show what happens when grease ignites, what happens when people try to move the pan, or when water is thrown on the fire. And you can find good training for how to use a fire extinguisher there, too.  Take advantage of this great resource.

Want more details?

Two websites with statistical info:

https://www.iafc.org/files/1FIREPREV/flss_ResidentialRangeTopSafetyReport.pdf
http://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/

And this Emergency Plan Guide Advisory gives tips on shopping for fire extinguishers:

Fire extinguisher, anyone? 

Hope you take this Advisory to heart. In this case, there’s no need to become a statistic when you know what to do.

Virginia
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

Share this quiz and its answers with your neighborhood emergency response group, too. Remember, the more prepared your neighbors are, the safer YOU will be!

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