Each October, The National Fire Safety Prevention Association (NFPA) commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 with its educational campaign
centered around Fire Prevention Week. Several years ago
, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) took the idea a step further by designating every October as National Fire Prevention Month.
As the month draws to a close, lets take a look at some important things you can do to reduce the risk of fire in your home.
- Of course, working smoke detectors are a must. If you or someone you know is unable to afford smoke detectors, most fire departments can help you get one free of charge.
- Schedule a home inspection with your local fire department. Call the non-emergency number of your local station and tell them you want to make sure your home is fire safe. They'll come out and look for safety hazards in your home, check the placement and operation of your smoke detectors, and help you identify any potential hazards. Although home inspections are typically free of charge, dropping off a plate of cookies at the station the next day is a thoughtful gesture.
- Make sure your chimney is clean. Soot and ash builds up quickly so make sure you clean your chimney regularly so a stray spark from your romantic fire won't ruin your evening.
- Never pile leaves and grass clippings in trash bags in the garage. Compost material heats up very quickly and can ignite if not properly aerated.
- Always position your grill far away from the house, and be sure it has completely cooled before storing it. Fond of those outdoor deep fryers? They make great turkey, but they're also a hazard if used in patio enclosures, lanais, and garages.
- At a minimum, keep fire extinguishers in kitchen and garage. Small ones scattered throughout the rest of the house are even better. Make sure you learn how to use it before you need it. Have questions or want to practice? Again, the local fire department is your best resource.
Find dozens more resources and tips at NFPA's Web site
and, of course, at your local fire department.