Home Fire Safety

Iowa Peak Oil

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by Heather Diodati, DDesign

Home fires claim thousands of lives, injure tens of thousands and cause billions of dollars worth of damage. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, rural homeowners are more than twice as likely to lose their lives in a fire than those in cities or suburbs. By using some of the following precautions, you can help to protect your home, yourself and your loved ones from possible danger from fire.

1) Make sure to keep a charged 5 lb. Fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Failing that, keep baking soda or salt on hand. These are natural fire extinguishers. However, be aware that it takes quite a lot of one or the other to extinguish a fire. For a grease fire in a frying pan, a large-enough pot lid placed on top will deprive the flames of oxygen and smother them.

2) Never force-open your self-cleaning oven door before it has unlocked by itself. The extremely high heat inside the oven during the cleaning process is very dangerous.

3) Ashes thrown out in a cardboard box could re-ignite. Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container outside of your home.

4) Store all flammables (i.e. Gas, turpentine, paints, propane, etc.) in an outdoor shed.

5) Be careful with cleaning supplies. Certain products when mixed together can be lethal. For example, chlorine and bleach mixed together can explode.

6) Chlorine is highly flammable and must be stored outside.

7) Gas-soaked rags should never be crumpled up and tossed in a corner or in a cardboard box or thrown out with paper, cardboard, etc. The gas will heat up instead of evaporating causing the rag to ignite. Air the rags outside by laying them flat so the gas can evaporate.

8) Never clean anything with gas or turpentine inside your home. Gas vapors are heavier than air and will settle near the floor. Any spark can trigger an explosion or flame, for example, a spark from a hot water heater or furnace.

9) Keep furnaces and gas water heaters clear of piled-up boxes or any other combustibles.

10) Keep baseboard and electric space heaters free of hanging curtains and by all means avoid using them to dry such items as mittens and socks.

11) Have your chimney cleaned each year to prevent creosote build-up and inspect it frequently for obstructions and damage. (don't use pine or other soft woods they have very high creosote and are a hazard)

12) Test your smoke detector batteries regularly.

13) Don't overload your electrical outlets and never run extensions under a carpet.

14) Never replace a burnt fuse with a penny. (yes, there are homes that still have these)

15) Finally, plan and practice an escape route with your family and agree upon a round-up area to make sure everyone is accounted for during an emergency.

Heather Diodati, owner of DDesign, is the creator/distributor of the Pet Computer Virus, a novelty designed for the computer user; as well as other unique computer novelties; and Whimsies! Personalized Cartoon Designs for all occasions. Sign up for our free ezine, On A Whim, for your free time management gift, The Memory Jogger System; and if you looooove ballroom dancing be sure to subscribe to Dancing On Air ezine, for your free gift, The Dancer's Notebook! http://www.whimsies-online.com

2003 DDesign
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