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October is Fire Prevention Month & time to review and practice fire safety; winter months are peak time for fire-related deaths
Submitted by the New York State Division of Consumer Protection
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP), in partnership with the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC), advises New Yorkers to “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” during Fire Prevention Month.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported 499,000 structure fires in the U.S. in 2018. In New York alone, 126 civilian home fire fatalities were reported in 2019. According to NFPA, the top causes of fires include gas leaks, smoking, candles and electrical problems. Cooking continues to be the No. 1 cause of home fires and home injuries, but it is also highly preventable.
“As we hunker down this winter and approach a holiday season full of home traditions, it is more important than ever that we secure our homes inside and out,” New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said. “I encourage all New Yorkers to follow simple tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable season.”
State Fire Administrator Francis Nerney said, “Fire is the most likely disaster anyone will face. The good news is that, unlike other natural disasters, fire deaths are almost totally preventable. One death is too many if it could have been prevented. With good fire prevention practices and fire safety planning, almost all fire fatalities can be eliminated.”
Be alert and use these tips to protect your family and home:
√ Never leave cooking unattended. Always “stand by your pan” and avoid being distracted while cooking.
√Make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it.
√Keep your smoke alarm connected while cooking.
√If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check on it regularly and use a timer or your virtual assistant to remind you that you are cooking.
√Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels or food packaging away from your stove top.
√Once a child is able to, let them help in the kitchen. It’s a great way to learn about cooking safety. Make sure to have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove.
√Have a smoke alarm on every level of your home, inside each sleeping room, and outside each separate sleeping area. Interconnect the alarms so when one sounds, they all sound.
√Install smoke alarms and alert devices to help family members who are deaf or hard of hearing.
√Alert devices, such as strobe lights, flash when the smoke alarm sounds.
√Pillow or bed shakers may be useful to wake a person who is sleeping.
√Test your alarms at least once a month. Press each test button to make sure it is working.
√Plan and practice your home fire safety plan, including two exits from each room. Share the plan with all family members and guests.
√Have a plan specifically for children, older adults, and people with disabilities. They may need more assistance than others in the household.
√Remove clutter to prevent trips and falls and allow for a quick escape.
√Make sure your home has bright lighting in stairways to prevent falls.
√Install handrails along the full length of both sides of the stairs.
√If there is a fire, get outside quickly and stay outside. Then call 9-1-1.
√If you can’t get outside, call 9-1-1 and let the fire department know. Wave a light-colored cloth or a flashlight from the window.
√Avoid smoke if you can. If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist and empower the state’s consumers. The division’s consumer helpline (800-697-1220) is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Consumer complaints can be filed anytime online at the division website, www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. One can also request a presentation at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection/informing/request_presentation.htm.