October is National Fire Prevention Month, a time when we should all be aware of ways to help learn fire safety and prevention.  Here are some easy tips to help you avoid fires and risk of injury.
Smoke/Fire Alarms – These are a very important addition to your home.  Smoke alarms are broadly available and inexpensive.  Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it monthly. These alarms save lives, prevent injuries and minimize damage by alerting you to a fire as early as smoke is sensed.
Avoid Electrical Fires – Don’t overload circuits or extension cords.  Cords and wires should never be placed under rugs or in high traffic areas.  Avoid loose electrical connections by checking the fit of the plug in the wall outlet. A bad connection between a plug and an outlet can cause overheating and can lead to fire.
Appliance Safety – Follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions and use your senses to spot any potential danger.  If a plug is overheating, it smells strange, shorts out or sparks. If this happens, the appliance should be shut off immediately, then replaced or repaired.
Portable Heaters – Make sure there is ample space around any portable heating unit.  Anything that could catch fire should be at least three feet away.
Fire Safety Sprinklers – When combined with working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers greatly increase your chance of surviving a fire.  Sprinklers are affordable and they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.
Create an Escape Route – Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.  Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.
Clean Dryer Vents – Clothes dryers account for 92% of household fires. Make sure you clean the lint filter every time you start a load of clothes to dry or after the drying cycle is complete.  Make sure your exhaust duct is made of metal tubing and not plastic or foil.  Clean the exhaust duct with a good quality dryer vent brush to prevent blockage & check for lint build up behind the dryer at least twice a year.
Holiday Safety – If you fill your home with lights during the holiday season, keep them away from anything that can easily catch fire.  Check all of your lights prior to stringing them up and dispose of anything with frayed or exposed wires.
Following these simple guidelines could potentially save lives –  make this fire prevention month count!