If you’re like the majority of Americans, you’re starting off the new year with a resolution to improve your fitness and health. As you eat better and exercise more often, consider one additional step to maintain your good health: fire prevention. The North Charleston Fire Department is urging residents to make 2021 a healthier and more fire-safe year.
Most people say they feel safest at home. But U.S. Fire Administration data shows that 83 percent of all fire deaths in the U.S. actually happen in homes. These preventable fires result in more than three-quarters of all fire deaths and thousands of injuries.
Follow this safety information to ring in fire safety in 2021:
- Smoke alarms can wake you up if there’s a fire. Make sure that your home is protected by working smoke alarms. “Half of all home fire deaths happen at night, when people are sleeping,” says Fire Chief Gregory Bulanow. “So install one on every level of your home, in every bedroom and outside all sleeping areas.” Make sure that everyone in your home knows how to get outside and where to meet if the smoke alarm sounds.
- You need a working smoke alarm on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnected smoke alarms provide the best protection because when one sounds, they all sound.
- A smoke alarm with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all. Resolve to test all of your smoke alarms to make sure that they are working. Replace your smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or if they don’t make a sound when you test them.
- Cooking is the main cause of home fires and home fire injuries. While you’re preparing healthier meals, remember to make safety the first ingredient. Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking at high temperatures, like frying, broiling or boiling. Fires start when the heat gets too high. If you see any smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.
- If you have children living in your home or visiting, look for fire and burn dangers from their point of view. Never leave cigarette lighters or matches where children can reach them. “Keep smoking materials locked up in a high place,” says Fire and Life Safety Educator Laura Kondor. Children may try to do the same things you do. “Never play with lighters or matches when you’re with children.”