Fire Safety

SunBird Safety Task Force

Can you think of anything more frightening or destructive than a fire in your home? Unfortunately, they happen more often than we think.

How can the fires start, and how can you try to prevent them?

* Forgetting you have food cooking on the stove. Set a timer when cooking something that will take a while to remind you that you have something on the stove or in the oven.

* BBQ grills. Be sure the coals are completely out. Also, the placement of the grill itself is important. Having it directly under an awning or too close to the house can be a safety issue.

* Cigarettes or lit candles left unattended. Smoking in bed is one of the leading causes of house fires. Candles can be soothing, but be sure to put them out when you leave the area.

* Frayed electrical cords. Don’t use appliances with frayed cords. Replace the appliance or have a professional replace the cord.

* Overloaded or inadequate surge protectors. Some of the inexpensive surge protectors are not made to have multiple high-end devices plugged into them.

* Unattended space heaters. If you use one to heat a small room, such as the bathroom, be sure to shut it off when you leave the room. Also, be sure not to have towels or other flammable materials near the heater.

* Dryer lint. It is important to clean the dryer lint filter after each use.

Be sure your fire alarms are in good working order. Fire departments suggest replacing the batteries at least once a year.

Consider buying a fire extinguisher for your home and garage. There are different kinds for different kinds of fires. You can purchase extinguishers online, at any hardware store (ACE, Home Depot, Lowes), or at stores such as Walmart or Target.

* Class A fires involve common combustibles including wood, paper, cloth rubber, trash, and plastics.

* Class B fires involve flammable liquids, solvents, oil, gasoline, paint lacquer, and other oil-based products. These fires can spread very quickly.

* Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment including wires, motors, and appliances. Always unplug an electrical device before trying to put the fire out. They can be caused by a spark, power surge, or a short circuit.

There are some fire extinguishers designed for home use that address all three classes of fires.