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Take precautions to prevent fires

A quick response is how everyone should respond to a fire.

And a quick response is why people make it out of homes during a fire –mainly thanks to smoke alarms.

This week is Fire Prevention Week, and the National Fire Protection Agency for the third year in a row is recognizing the importance of smoke alarms. The theme this year is “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.”

Smoke alarms can lose sensitivity after 10 years and eventually may be like having no smoke alarm at all. That is why fire safety officials urge replacing smoke alarms every 10 years.

Please note that smoke alarms have a manufacture date on the back.

It is too easy to forget about hard-wired smoke alarms, and battery-operated smoke alarms are to be handled at least once a year when it is time to change the batteries.

To note the importance of smoke alarms in homes, statistics show that three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

So having a working smoke alarm in the home cuts in half the risk of dying in a house fire.

Fire safety officials recommend smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of a home, including the basement. Larger homes may need more alarms.

An ionization smoke alarm generally is more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is more responsive to smoldering fires, so experts say for the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms, are recommended.

The National Fire Protection Agency reported cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment. Smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths.

Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in the kitchen to quickly extinguish a cooking fire. Grease fires can be dangerous so don’t throw water on them because it can cause it to spread.

Never leave food on the stove cooking unattended. Always turn off the burner if you leave the room, even for a brief amount of time.

With the weather turning colder, residents will be relying upon heating equipment to warm their homes. Kerosene and space heaters can provide additional heat but must be used with caution. Keep heaters at least 3 feet away from combustibles — especially blankets and curtains, and turn off heaters when not in the room or when it is time to go to bed.

Also, practice fire escape routes with all members of the family.

All these fire prevention steps can help save lives.

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