Prevent Burn Accidents in the Home
Edited by Pia Marie Villamante, Robbi, Lynn, Graeme and 3 others
Who would want to lose everything they have: property, household goods, clothes or even loved ones? No one, of course! A fire could start anywhere so it is important to be careful, alert and able to respond quickly. Here are some simple steps to prevent fires from happening accidentally.
Ways to prevent fires and burn accidents at home
Never leave lit candles unattended
This simple mistake could result in losing your entire house and/or contents to a catastrophic fire. Be sure to use an appropriate candle stand and put candles at least 12 inches away from anything that could easily catch fire. Put candles out of the reach of small children and teach them to never touch candles that are lit. Never go to bed or go out without making sure all burning candles have been extinguished. As an alternative, use electric or battery-powered candle flames; they are bright, smell good, and look like candles but have no flame or smoke. In case of a power outage or brown-out, use emergency battery or re-chargeable lamps and flashlights instead of candles.
Keep matches, lighters and candles out of the reach of children and never allow children to play with them
Educate your kids about what can happen and how important it is to always properly handle anything to do with fire.
Never leave pots of boiling water unattended on the stove, especially if you have young children in or near the kitchen
Always use cooking equipment according to the manufacturer's directions.
Never leave the door to your gas or electric stove open or on and unattended
Always turn the stove off once you've finished cooking. When using a gas stove for the first time check for leaks. Do the "Soapy Bubble" test Apply some mild soap on to the hose and look for bubbles appearing anywhere along the gas hose.This could indicate a leak. Have a certified technician check your gas equipment regularly. If you smell gas, immediately turn off the stove and the gas supply, then telephone the emergency services (fire department).
When cooking, concentrate on what you're doing
Avoid getting distracted by the TV or a computer since your pots or pans could be damaged by boiling over or a fire could get started while you're distracted.
The house could fill with dense smoke, the fire rage out of control and destroy more than just your pans! Always use cooking appliances that are appropriate for what you are cooking and follow the manufacturer's instructions for using that equipment. Don't use lots of extension cables because these could overload the circuit. Choose appliances that have undergone testing and/or been approved by an independent testing facility.
Do not leave appliances like the clothes dryer running if you are gone, as they could overheat or possibly short out
Be sure to regularly clean out lint filters.
Unplug your appliances whenever you leave for an extended period of time
This will reduce the risk of a circuit overload or fire during a storm or other natural event.
Since electrical cords are subject to deterioration due to age and use, particularly if the cable is regularly touching something, periodically look at cables, especially those attached to washing machines, dryers, stoves, ovens or freezers
If you notice cracks, fraying or any wear on the cables, call in a licensed electrician to replace the cable.
Dispose of cigarettes properly
Aside from the hazardous effects on your health, smoking is the 3rd most common cause of home fires and fire deaths. A smouldering cigarette butt can cause a fire, particularly on a bed, in second. If you have smokers in the house, make it a house rule that they smoke outdoors. Use, and regularly empty, appropriate ashtrays. Do not smoke in bed. You can get fire safety cigarette (FSC) which have two bands of fire retardants that extinguish the cigarette more quickly. However, while FSC may slow the burn rate, they do not prevent flammable materials igniting when touched by the cigarette, so do not be lulled into a sense of false security.
- If your clothes catch fire remember these 3 steps - STOP, DROP and ROLL. Stay calm. Since rapid movement will provide the fire with more air, causing it to burn more vigorously, drop to the ground, lie down, if possible cover your face, then roll to deprive the fire of oxygen so it goes out.
Recent edits by: Monika, Richelle, Graeme