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Fire Safety Tips from Horry County Fire Rescue: Fire is Fast

On January 15, 2019 in Public Safety

Horry County, South Carolina - Did you know, in less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire? Your risk of injury or death in a home fire changes with age. If you have young children or older adults living in your home, they may need your help to stay safe. Here are some important ways to keep your home and your loved ones safe from fire.

Fire Safety If You Smoke

  • Smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths for adults 65 and over. It is also the third leading cause of fire injuries for older adults
  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Never smoke in bed, while drowsy, or while under the influence of medication or alcohol.
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays.
  • Before you throw out your cigarette butts and ashes, make sure they are completely cool. Put them in water or a can that is filled with sand.
  • Check furniture and places where people smoke for smoldering cigarette butts and ashes—especially before going to bed.
  • Never smoke where medical oxygen is used, even if it is turned off.
  • Keep smoking materials, including lighters and cigarettes, up high and out of the reach of children. Use child safety locks where you store your smoking materials.

Fire Safe Cooking

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires in America. Many older adults also experience burn-related injuries during cooking. Prevent fires and burns by being watchful and alert when you cook.

  • Don’t cook if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol, or have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
  • Keep cooking surfaces clean and free from anything that can catch fire.
  • Never lean over a lit burner.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves while cooking. Loose clothing can catch fire if it touches a gas flame or an electric burner.
  • Check the kitchen after you finish cooking. Make sure the oven, burners, and other appliances are off.
  • If a fire starts, stay calm and get out. Once out, call 9-1-1 from a cell phone or a neighbor’s telephone. Have an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your house where first responders can see you.

Practice Electrical Safety

Older homes are more likely to catch fire from electrical causes than newer homes. Older wiring may not have the capacity to safely handle newer appliances and equipment and may not have updated safety features.

  • Electrical work should only be done by a licensed electrician.
  • Check all electrical appliances often. Replace cracked, damaged, and loose electrical cords.
  • Replace outlets if plugs do not fit snugly or the outlet does not accept plugs with one blade larger than the other.
  • Major appliances (refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall outlet.
  • Plug only one high-wattage appliance into an outlet at a time, even if the outlet has space for two plugs.
  • Avoid using extension cords. Have a licensed electrician determine if additional outlets are needed.
  • Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) shut off electricity when a dangerous situation occurs. Have a licensed electrician install them in your home.
  • Find reasons for blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers. Have a licensed electrician inspect and correct the problem.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or light fixture.

Every year in America nearly 3,000 people die in home fires. Many of these people die in homes that do not have working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms warn you and your family when there is a fire. They can save your life!

As always, if there is a fire emergency, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible and remain outdoors. Never return inside a burning building to retrieve an item.




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