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Fire Safety Planning

Sudden house fires can appear to arise from nothing, seemingly caused by bad luck alone. But when used improperly, replaces and everyday appliances are common culprits in residential fires. Eliminate household hazards using the tips below, and develop a family fire escape plan to protect your loved ones.

Heat Your Home Safely

Over a third of Americans still use fireplaces or fuel-burning stoves (fuel-fired appliances) as the primary source of heat in their homes. Take precautions to warm up your home without starting an out-of-control fire.

  • Have fireplaces and fuel-fired appliances inspected and cleaned by a chimney specialist yearly. Inspections should include both fireplace and chimney maintenance
  • Ensure that the damper on your fireplace is open before starting a fire. If your fireplace has glass doors, leave them open while the fire is burning to allow proper airflow, and close them when the fire is out to keep air in the chimney.
  • Use either dry natural wood or artificial fire logs in your stove or fireplace. Never burn trash or debris in your fire; this contributes to the buildup of dangerous creosote (fire residue).
  • Cover the top of your chimney with a mesh screen spark arrestor. Remove overhanging branches and plant debris from the chimney opening.
  • Keep wood stoves, electric kerosene heaters, and electric space heaters 3 to 5 feet from any furniture, and never place clothes or any other objects on top of heaters.
  • Do not use an extension cord or power strip with an electric space heater — plug it directly into the wall.
  • Never leave a lit fireplace or stove unattended, and always extinguish the fire before going to bed. Douse coals and ashes with water and dispose of them in a closed metal container once they are cool.

Prevent Electrical Fire

Electrical fires result in 280 fatalities every year in America. The majority of residential electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets, old wiring, overloaded power strips, and extension cords. Make sure your appliances and cords are properly installed.

  • Avoid using extension cords for major appliances, and replace any worn, frayed, or damaged electrical cords. Unplug electrical appliances when not in use.
  • Use light bulbs with the right wattage for each light fixture, and turn off lights whenever you leave the room.
  • Be sure not to position electrical cords under rugs, carpets or anywhere else where they will constantly be stepped on or damaged by rubbing against furniture.
  • Call a certified electrician to inspect any problems such as blown fuses, flickering lights, or sparks from a wall outlet as soon as you notice them.

Plan an Emergency Escape

Fires can engulf your home in a matter of minutes. Create and practice an emergency plan that each member of your family
can remember and follow.

  • Identify all the doors and windows in your home that you could use to escape in an emergency. Discuss with your family two ways to escape every room in your house, in case the primary exit is blocked.
  • Keep a collapsible ladder on the second story of your home in an easily accessible spot. Make sure everyone living in your house knows where the ladder is kept and how to use it.
  • Gather your family twice a year to practice your fire escape plan, once during the day and once at night. Focus on getting your family out of the house as quickly as possible.
  • Agree on a meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone can wait after a fire. Instruct your family members to immediately call 9-1-1 after escaping a fire and to stay outside.

About U.S. Security Associates

U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.

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