Be on fire for safety resolutions in 2019
Three of every five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. That’s why Sam Rooks, vice president of underwriting and policy services for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., suggests homeowners go a step further and check their smoke alarms once a month throughout the year.
“Your property can be replaced, but your life cannot. Please take a few moments each month to ensure your smoke alarms are functioning properly,” Rooks urged.
When most smoke alarms fail to operate, it’s usually because batteries are missing, disconnected or dead. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained can reduce the risk of dying from a fire in your home by almost half, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Cooking is the main cause of home fires and injuries. Each year fire departments respond to an average of 172,100 home structure fires started by cooking, the association reported. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires and casualties, and clothing ignitions led to 15 percent of home cooking fire deaths.
The group encourages homeowners to practice safe cooking and stay in the kitchen while cooking.
Additionally, those with a wood-burning stove or fireplace should schedule a flue or chimney inspection and cleaning before starting the first fire of the heating season.
Wood burning is a popular way to save money and effectively heat your home, but with more people burning wood, the risk of home fires is expected to increase as well.
The NFPA recommends having chimneys cleaned and inspected by a reputable service, and keeping debris, decorations and flammable materials far from the hearth.
For more safety tips related to home smoke alarms, visit: nfpa.org/~/media/files/public-education/resources/safety-tip-sheets/smokealarms.pdf.