9 Ways to Boost Your Fire Preparedness

October is Fire Safety Month, and we've rounded up our top tips to keep your home—and your family—safe and protected.

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  1. Stats


    The National Fire Protection Association reports that 42% of house fires are started by cooking equipment and 17% from heating-related issues. With 17,720 injuries, 3,120 deaths, and $11.6 billion in property damage caused by house fires in 2010 alone, there's no better time than the present to do your own safety check. Here are 9 Ways to Boost Your Fire-Preparedness.

  2. Fire Safety Checklist

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    Do you stay in the kitchen when food is cooking on the stove? Does your fireplace have a sturdy screen to catch sparks? Do you test your smoke alarm regularly? Are you careful not to leave burning candles unattended? Take a look at our Fire Safety Checklist to find out how you—and your home—stack up!


  3. Fire Extinguishers


    Purchasing a fire extinguisher is one of the best investments a homeowner can make. Should you need to use it, just remember the acronym PASS: Pull the pin to release the handle; Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire; Squeeze the trigger; and Sweep the discharge stream at the base of the fire.


  4. Smoke Alarms


    New homes are now required to be constructed with an interconnected alarm system, whereby all alarms ring if one detects smoke. For older houses, Kidde manufactures a radio-connected alarm that enables owners of homes built before 1993 to enjoy the improved technology's safety benefits.


  5. Gas Fireplaces


    While sparks and flying embers are the most common fireplace hazards, The Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA) is launching an initative to raise awareness about the danger of glass-front gas fireplaces. When the glass heats up, it puts children and pets at risk of serious burns. Starting January 1, 2014, all newly manufactured gas-fired certified fireplaces will include a mandatory safety screen. 


  6. Grill Smart


    Before the weather gets too cold, you might want to think about firing up your grill one last time. Just be sure to "inspect the hose, regulator, and valve for any obvious signs of rust, cracks, kinks or damage," says Dan Hannan in Preventing Home Accidents (with forward by Bob Vila). Unsafe conditions could result in a flare-up or explosion. 


  7. Rag Disposal


    Before you dispose of greasy or oily rags, let them dry out completely. "The accumulation of oily/greasy rags in a pile or in a storage container can result in a fire," says Hannan. There are similar regulations for disposing of leftover paint, mineral spirits, turpentine and oil.


  8. Control Your Cords


    While the majority of house fires start in the kitchen, 6% of them are a direct result of electrical problems. While some things like dimmer switches and lamp rewiring can be tackled by a qualified DIYer, most electrical work should be left to the pros. As for outlet overload, consider these smart cord management solutions.


  9. Fire Pit Safety


    If you're in the mood to cuddle around a bonfire, just make sure that you keep your fire pit at least ten feet away from any large structure. Keep the area around the pit clean and free of debris. And if it is a wood-burning pit, be sure to use a fire screen to reduce the risks posed by sparks and flying embers.


  10. Safe and Insurable

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    One of the greatest precautionary measures against property damage is making sure your home is insured. Take a look at our Safe and Insurable Home Checklist to get the facts on measures that can help keep your insurance premiums down and your home safe.


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