According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electric-related fires are the third leading cause for fires in the United States. Electrical failure or malfunction served as the ignition source for a yearly average of 45,210 home fires, resulting in 420 deaths, 1,370 injuries and over $1.4 billion in property damage per year between 2010 and 2014. Arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) circuits and receptacles can prevent an estimated 52% of these fires. Similar to efforts in preventing electrocutions and childhood shocks and burns, education for the public on fire prevention with new electrical technologies required by the National Electrical Code can help save numerous lives and property.
The NFPA's theme for Fire Prevention Week 2017, "Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!" reinforces the need for everyone to have an escape plan. From October 8-14, 2017, NFPA leads the charge for home fire safety, and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) provides resources to take proactive measures to prevent home electrical fires.
Every week here at DiVal Safety, we teach fire prevention and fire extinguisher training. Most businesses that enlist our services do so under the requirement of OSHA, but also with the thought that the information learned at work is just as important to implement at home. We stress the importance in knowing that not only do we have to worry about work place fire hazards, but also hazards in the home. Take a walk around you house and do a fire hazard assessment and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do I have proper working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?
2. Do I have combustibles at least 3 feet away from heat sources?
3. Is my electrical up to code?
4. When was the last time my dryer vent was cleaned?
5. Are my natural gas or propane appliances venting properly?
The fall and winter months are coming and it is crucial that we as home owners and renters inspect our homes. Numerous carbon monoxide calls are received every year from those whose alarms. Those that don't have alarms aren't so lucky. The side effects of carbon monoxide mimic those of common sickness and drowsiness so it is important to protect yourself.
Leaving your house during a fire is just as important as having a plan. If your plan to evacuate only includes your front or back door, you may be out of luck if you have a second or third story bedroom. Having a portable escape ladder, blankets, and extinguishers on hand will greatly help you and your family in surviving a fire and having to evacuate out of the window.
To find out more information on fire prevention and preplanning, contact the training department at DiVal Safety at 1-800-343-1354. When it comes to fire and poisonous fumes, hoping you have protection isn't going to save your life.