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Fire Safety

More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 25,000 are injured. An overwhelming number of fires occur in the home. There are time-tested ways to prevent and survive a fire. It's not a question of luck. It's a matter of planning ahead.

Every Home Should Have Smoke Alarms: The International Fire Code calls for smoke detectors to be installed and maintained in each room used for sleeping purposes, and in the area just outside of sleeping areas, with at least one smoke detector on each level of the home (including basements). Buy a smoke alarm at any hardware or discount store. It's inexpensive protection for you and your family. A working smoke alarm can double your chances of survival. Test it monthly, keep it free of dust and replace the battery at least once a year. Smoke alarms themselves should be replaced after ten years of service, or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Prevent Electrical Fires: Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced. Contact the Electrical Division of L&I for electrical questions or concerns. They can be reached at 360-416-3000.

Use Appliances Wisely: When using appliances follow the manufacturer's safety precautions. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to be shut off, then replaced or repaired. Use safety caps to cover all unused outlets if there are small children in the home.

Alternate Heaters: Portable heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away. Keep fire in the fireplace. Use fire screens and have your chimney cleaned annually. The creosote buildup can ignite a chimney fire that could easily spread. Kerosene heaters should not be used in a dwelling. Never use gasoline or camp-stove fuel.

Affordable Home Fire Safety Sprinklers: When home fire sprinklers are used with working smoke alarms, your chances of surviving a fire are greatly increased. Sprinklers are affordable - they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.

Plan Your Escape: Practice an escape plan from every room in the house. Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Select a location where everyone can meet after escaping the house. Get out then call for help.

Caring for Children: Children under five are naturally curious about fire. Many play with matches and lighters. Tragically, children set over 20,000 house fires every year. Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching your children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Keep all matches and lighters stored above the level where young children can reach them. Many fires set by children who are curious about fire result in fatalities.

Caring for Older People: Every year over 1,200 senior citizens die in fires. Many of these fire deaths could have been prevented. Seniors are especially vulnerable because many live alone and can't respond quickly. It is especially important that this vulnerable population has smoke detectors

Call (360) 416-1842 if you need additional fire safety information.