Fires don’t take a break for the holidays; actually, your risk increases. According to the National Fire Protection Association, winter months are the leading time of year for fires. Last year, more than 1 million fires were reported in the United States, killing more than 3,200 people and causing $11.6 billion in property damage.
Jackson EMC’s System Control Supervisor, Darrell Chaisson, is also the Deputy Fire Chief for the City of Jefferson Fire Department. He has this advice for protecting your home and loved ones from fire:
- First and foremost, you need to have smoke and fire alarms in the home. Make sure you have them inside and outside of bedrooms. Your nose won’t wake you up, so you need the alarm. Sleeping with your door closed is the safest way to sleep. The door will add important time in case of a fire.
- Test each alarm every month and change the batteries when the time changes in the spring and fall. Alarms expire; you need to replace them every 10 years.
- Keep a box of baking soda handy in the kitchen in case there is a grease fire.
- If you use electric space heaters, unplug them when you leave the room. Choose models that turn off if they are tipped over.
- Prepare an escape plan, and test it. You don’t want to use an escape ladder for the first time in an emergency.
- Don’t overload outlets. Electrical fires are dangerous because by the time you see smoke coming out of the outlet, a fire is already spreading out of sight inside your walls. Never try to put out electrical fires with water.
- Photograph all the rooms in your house, including the closets. Save the photos with your other important files in a safety deposit box. This makes insurance claims easier.
- Buy a dryer lint brush to remove lint that escapes the trap in the dryer.