A Home's Fire Safety
than 4,000 deaths result from household fires each year. Recognizing how fires start is
the first step to protecting friends, family, and clients.
The Electrical Circuits
A home's electrical circuits are designed to safely carry specific electrical loads. If
any of the circuits' load is surpassed, fuses or circuit breakers will open and shut off
the current. Never try to increase the rated load of a circuit by replacing burnt-out
fuses with those allowing higher current levels. If a fuse is not the right size, don't
use it. Never place anything other than a fuse in a fuse holder.
If a homeowner experiences frequent fuse replacements or circuit breaker trips, first
check the main electrical box to see which section of the house is affected. Once
identified, reduce the amount of electricity used in those areas by unplugging a few
appliances or moving them to another room. If this doesn't help, have a professional
electrician inspect the system to determine the cause of overload or short.
When an appliance will not reach a wall outlet, extension cords are a common temporary
solution. But they are not meant to be permanent fixtures. If more outlets are needed,
have them installed by a qualified professional. And never run electrical cords under
carpets or secure them with nails or staples.
Fires Can Start In Many Ways
Household fires can start in a number
of ways. With a fire-safety checklist, you will recognize some of the more common hazards.
For example, flammable liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, and paint thinner can be
extremely dangerous and should never be stored on the inside of the house or near sources
of heat, especially furnaces, water heaters, and other gas appliances. Keep flammable or
volatile materials outside. Use plastic or metal storage containers, not breakable glass,
and keep the lids tightly sealed to prevent escaping flammable vapors.
In the event of a fire, smoke detectors can save lives. For maximum protection, place a
smoke alarm on every level and outside each bedroom. Test each detector at least once a
month and replace the batteries annually. Whenever vacuuming or dusting, do not forget the
vents on the smoke detector where grease, dust, and dirt can build up and possibly cause a