- Cooking related fires are one of the leading causes of fires in the United States and the leading cause of fire related injuries. Just think about it, people cook everyday, sometimes two or three times in one day. Cooking safety is a hot topic.
- Careless smoking causes the most fire related deaths and they usually occur between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., the time when people sleep and a fire can go unnoticed.
- Candles are another leading cause of fires. Candles should never be left burning unattended and they should be set in a non-combustible container. Candles are not a suggested source of light during a power outage.
- A combustible too close to a heat source is another leading cause of fires, mostly in the cooler months of the year. Space heaters too close to objects that can burn such as sofas and bedding are examples. Also an item stored in the garage against the water heater is another example. Combustible items should be kept at least three feet from any source of heat including fireplaces and wood burning stoves.
- Extension cords should only be used for a limited time and never with an electric appliance such as space heaters, refrigerators, freezers or other appliances with large motors.
- Matches and lighters should be kept in a safe place where children can not get to them. Matches and lighters should be treated just like you would treat a gun in the home. They should be kept in a place where they are never accessible to children and locked.
- Smoke alarms save lives. In the past 30 years, fire fatalities in the United States have been reduced by almost two-thirds thanks to the smoke alarm. The problem is many homes, the place where most fire fatalities occur, are still not protected by a working smoke alarm or it is not functional. Smoke alarms last approximately 10 years and then should be replaced.
- Families should have a plan on what to do in the event of a fire. Plan two ways of escape from every room of the house and practice the plan by having a fire drill at least two times a year. Everyone in the home should participate in the drill and when doing it, have their eyes closed to simulate limited visibility conditions.
These are just a few ideas of what you can do for fire prevention week.
Tim Szymanski is the Fire - Public Information Officer for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue. As the Fire-PIO he is in charge of public information, public relations, fire safety education, Citizens Fire Academy and the Las Vegas Fire Corps program. He is also in charge of photo and video services and manages the "Fire Channel" which provides cable educational services to over 50 fire stations of five fire departments in Southern Nevada. He has been in the fire service for 35 years serving in every position from firefighter to fire chief. Nearly 20 of those years have been working with the media. He was the Fire-PIO for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He is a nationally known speaker on media relations and is now teaching public information and media relations at area colleges in Las Vegas and host a seminar each year in Las Vegas for Fire-PIOs. He is also a Fire-Photojournalist, much of his work has been seen on various TV programs and in trade magazines. Please visit Tim's website at www.Fire-Pio.Com. Or contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.