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Safeguard Your Home from Fires in 5 Easy Steps

homefireWhile home is often thought of as a safe haven, it is also one of the places where fires most frequently occur. A home fire is reported every 86 seconds in the U.S., with many of those fires resulting in injury and even death. But home fires can be easily prevented with some simple upkeep and a few easy steps. Here are 5 ways to be sure your home and family are safe:

1) Although smoke alarms can be exasperating when your roast or chocolate chip cookies are simply getting a bit “over-charred” in the oven, smoke alarms are essential in giving you and your family early warning in the event of a true emergency. Be sure to have one on each level of your home and test once a month to ensure the batteries are continuing to keep the unit working properly. If not, change them.

2) Candles are mainstay of decorating, especially during the holidays, but ensure that burning candles are out of the reach of children and away from pets or anything that can catch fire. The best idea: trade in your conventional candles for LED flameless versions. As a bonus, many come with automatic timers so you can set it and forget it!

3) Hire a professional to clean your chimney and fireplace annually. Keep flammable items such as holiday decorations away from the hearth. Refrain from discarding wrapping paper or newspaper in the fire or using it as kindling since it can give off toxic fumes when burned.

4) The CPSC estimates that extension cords cause close to 3,300 residential fires every year. Avoid using extension cords in place of permanent wiring as they are more prone to overheating. When using extension cords, be sure to replace cracked or frayed cords and don’t overload cords or sockets. Do not run extension cords under rugs/carpeting or near heaters and/or radiators.

5) Fire extinguishers are lifesavers so have one on hand and know how to use it in case of emergency. Place it in an easily accessible area so it can be used to either put out a small fire or keep flames at bay while you and/or others in the home can escape.