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House fires are much more common in winter: so you stay safe

House fires are dangerous no matter when they occur, but they definitely become more frequent as the temperature falls. According to the American Red Cross house fires increase between the autumn and winter months, with highs in December and January and the US federal state. Fire Administration estimates that each year about 890 people die from house fires in winter. These scores are scary, but there are plenty of ways to protect yourself.

Winter house fires can usually be attributed to factors such as candles, cooking, Christmas trees, other holiday decorations and heaters such as space heaters Lieutenant Michael Kozo, who works in the Fire Department of the New York Fire Department of 1

945 SELF with

. Because of the way modern homes are built, house fires may be more dangerous than they were 20 years ago, Lorraine Carli, National Fire Protection Association's Vice President, Public Relations and Advocacy (NFPA), told SELF.

Many items in modern homes are made of synthetic materials. Carli explains, "When they catch fire, they burn very fast, so you have much less time to flee." Fire safety experts told people that they had 7 to 10 minutes to leave a burning home says Carli. Today, she writes, you could have only two minutes .

All this means that it is important to know how these fires can be prevented at all. Here are a few tips to be sure.

. 1 Make sure you have working smoke detectors.

"The smoke detector is definitely the number one we promote. We can not overemphasize the importance of such, "says Kozo. "It's the first thing that lets you know there's a fire."

The vast majority of fires occur in homes where there is either no smoke alarm or smoke alarm, Carli explains. According to a 2019 report from the NFPA between 2012 and 2016, close to three in five deaths occurred in homes in homes that did not work with smoke detectors or smoke detectors that did not work. Therefore, NFPA recommends testing your smoke detectors at least once a month, replacing the batteries once a year (or when the alarm notifies you when the battery is low), and replacing any smoke alarm that is greater than 10 years old is. If you live in a multi-storey house, Carli also recommends having a smoke detector on every level of your home.

If your smoke detectors act as carbon monoxide detectors, they are also protected from another security threat. If not, install carbon monoxide detectors near each bedroom in your home and check them regularly, CDC states.

. 2 Do not keep anything near your space heater and switch it off before going to bed.

It is a fact that in the cold months you want to stay warm in winter, but Kozo says you should be careful when using space heaters. "Many people think they can buy one, turn it on and off, but it's not that easy," he says.

Heating is the second most common cause of American fire, injury and death in the US. the NFPA says. These fires can create sparks when a heater is too close to flammable materials or when the device fails mechanically or electrically, which can result in fatal consequences. According to a report by the NFPA US firefighters attempted an average of 52,050 fires each year through heaters. Space heaters accounted for 86 percent of deaths in these incidents.

To be on the safe side, always keep an open area of ​​at least three feet around the space heater, such as the NFPA and always turn it off before going to bed.

"We recommend that you turn it on and warm up the room in which you want to sleep while you are still awake. Once you go to sleep, you should close it off, "says Kozo. "You should not let it run all night."

. 3 Do not leave cooking unattended.

As Carli explains, Cooking is generally one of the major causes of house fires, not just in winter. As such, she advises people to be extra careful when cooking something on the stove.

"Stay in the kitchen; Be careful what you cook, "she says." Do not you have anything near the hob, whether food packaging, potholders [or] tea towels. "

Another tip for the kitchen? Do not use your oven as a source of heat. Kozo says it could easily build up carbon monoxide in your home.

4. Clean the fluff of the dryer.

According to the NFPA of 19459004 (19459049), between 2010 and 2014 US fire departments estimated an estimated 15,970 house fires with washes Dryers were responsible in one fell swoop 92 percent of these fires and one-third of these fires took place because the machine was not cleaned. (The other drier and wash fires were mainly mechanical and industrial electrical incidents.)

To avoid these fires make sure that you always use a lint filter in your dryer and Clean the filter before and after each filter Load laundry and keep the area around the dryer away from possible objects such as boxes, cleaning supplies, and clothing.

. 5 Avoid using extension cords with elements that produce heat or cool air.

Kozo says that any items that heat or cool the room, such as a space heater or air conditioning, should be connected directly to the wall. This also applies to toaster ovens, microwaves or refrigerators. (And only one object of this type should be connected to a power outlet at a time, says the NFPA .)

"These items should not be plugged into an extension cord because they can draw too much power, and the extension cord can do not handle that, "says Kozo. "[Plugging them in the wall] can prevent electric fires."

As practical as the extension cords may appear, you should be careful about their use. The NFPA states that you are only relying on extension cords as temporary spaces for your power needs. If you feel you need a long-term solution, NFPA recommends that you ask an electrician to install additional outlets in your home.

. 6 Do not leave candles unattended or near flammable objects.

Candles are pretty, but dangerous too. According to a report of the NFPA

between 2011 and 2015 they started with 36 percent of house fires in decoration.

especially for religious statements that require the ceremonial use of wax candles. Though not for religious reasons, sometimes you just want the comfortable mood that comes with a real candle. That's fine as long as you implement some simple security tips.

"You just want to practice some precautionary measures with a flame candle," says Kozo. "You should delete it as soon as it burns within two inches of the holder. If it burns to the touch, the holder can get hot and catch fire. "The NFPA (19459072) also recommends keeping candles at least one foot from anything that can ignite, though Kozo reaches that number up to four feet, if you exercise extreme caution.

You should also extinguish flames when you leave a room and before you go to sleep. Sure, a candle can burn out by itself and make you completely safe, but it only takes a while when things do not go wrong. As they say, it's better than being safe.

. 7 If you have a fireplace, dispose of the ashes safely.

A fireplace is probably one of the few places in your house where you want to have a fire but that does not mean there are no safety precautions to follow.

In order to avoid chimney fires, NFPA advises that every year a qualified specialist should have their chimney and vents checked. Store the chilled ash from the chimney in a tightly sealed metal container and keep the container at least 10 feet (10 feet) away from your home and other buildings.

Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that could ignite and leave a lit fireplace unattended. Yes, "unattended" includes falling asleep, no matter how tempting it is to fall asleep in front of those cozy flames.


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