Be proac­tive re­gard­ing fire pre­ven­tion


DEATHS from fires and burns are the third-lead­ing cause of fa­tal home in­jury (Run­yan 2004).

Use ex­ten­sion cords as a short-term so­lu­tion in your home. Since cords heat up and cool down dur­ing use, the cord tends to quickly wear, thus be­com­ing a fire haz­ard.

Un­plug ap­pli­ances such as the toaster, toaster oven, curl­ing iron, cof­fee maker and ket­tle when not in use. Pull these ap­pli­ances out from un­der cab­i­nets be­fore use.

Clean the dryer lint tray af­ter ev­ery use. Vacuum be­hind the dryer as well as us­ing the crevice tool of the vacuum to reach in­side the lint trap hous­ing.

Ex­tra tip: Dryer lint is very flammable. In fact, some peo­ple save it in seal­able bags and use it as a fire starter or keep a lint-filled bag in the glove com­part­ment of their ve­hi­cles as part of their emer­gency kit.

Check fur­nace fil­ters once a month; if they are dirty re­place them. It isn’t nec­es­sary to pur­chase ex­pen­sive fil­ters; the three-in-one pack will do. Af­ter re­mov­ing the fil­ter, do not stand or lay it be­side the fur­nace. Dis­card it im­me­di­ately be­cause the de­bris on the fil­ter is flammable.

Avoid turn­ing on the dish­washer and clothes dryer when no one is home or when all house­hold mem­bers are sleep­ing.

If your car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tor goes off, con­tact 911 or Man­i­toba Hy­dro im­me­di­ately. Re­mem­ber, car­bon monox­ide is a silent killer be­cause it doesn’t carry its own odour.

Ex­tra tips: The yeast in bread-mak­ing can trig­ger the car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tor. Turn on the fan (if not built in and au­to­matic) with ev­ery gas stove use.

It’s safest not to use ex­ten­sion cords when plug­ging in Christ­mas lights. If ex­ten­sion cords are used, be sure to un­plug them at night or when no one is home.

When plug­ging in Christ­mas lights, make sure ev­ery bulb on the strand is func­tion­ing prop­erly.

Keep the tree holder full. Wa­ter freshly cut Christ­mas trees twice a day for the first while and once a day af­ter that or as nec­es­sary.

Store one ABC fire ex­tin­guisher near the kitchen and one in the fur­nace room. The Class ABC fire ex­tin­guisher is suit­able for three kinds of fires: Class A (or­di­nary com­bustibles such as wood or pa­per); Class B (flammable liq­uid fires such as grease or gaso­line); or Class C (electrical fires). Check the date to make sure your fire ex­tin­guisher has not ex­pired. Ex­tra tips

If your fire ex­tin­guisher has sat for a long time, turn it up­side down for a few sec­onds and give it a pat to loosen the pow­der that falls to the bot­tom of the ex­tin­guisher. Dur­ing use: Aim the ex­tin­guisher to­wards the bot­tom of the flames and squeeze the trig­ger in a slow, sweep­ing mo­tion.

Talk to your fam­ily re­gard­ing fire pre­ven­tion and dis­cuss an es­cape plan and meet­ing place out­side of your home. Be­gin­ning at age three, speak to your chil­dren about the im­por­tance of not hid­ing dur­ing a fire.

In the case of a stove fire or grease fire, turn the el­e­ment off. If pos­si­ble, put the lid on the pot and close the oven door. Toss bak­ing soda onto the fire; flour will NOT work.

Change the bat­ter­ies in car­bon monox­ide and smoke de­tec­tors when­ever day­light sav­ing time oc­curs. Make sure your de­tec­tors have not ex­ceeded their ex­pi­ra­tion dates.

Clean your chim­ney prop­erly at least once a year.

Many thanks to fire Chief Kelvin Toews and Lieu­tenant Cindi Krahn of the Stein­bach Fire Depart­ment for the pre­ced­ing in­for­ma­tion. The power of words “Don’t let your dreams go up in smoke — prac­tise fire safety.” — au­thor un­known I en­joy your ques­tions and tips, keep them com­ing. Missed a col­umn? Can’t re­mem­ber a so­lu­tion? Need a speaker for an up­com­ing event? Check out my


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