Fire prevention observed
Published 12:01 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Losing a home to fire can be a devastating experience. Since October is fire prevention month, now may be a good time to consider the possibilities and how to avoid a fire. To protect your home, your family and yourself from fire it is important to understand its basic characteristics.
Fire spreads quickly, making it almost impossible for you to gather your valuables, pets or even make a phone call. In two minutes, a fire can become life threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
The poisonous gas emitted during a fire can make you disoriented and drowsy. Inhaling the heat and smoke from fire can harm your lungs. For these reasons, people who are asleep when their homes catch on fire may fall into a deeper sleep rather than being awakened by fire.
You can take various steps around your home to prevent fires or to help ensure everyone's safety if a fire does occur. Installing smoke alarms on every level of your home can decrease by half your chances of dying in a fire. Place smoke alarms outside bedrooms on the ceiling or high on the wall, also at the top of open stairways, or at the bottom of enclosed stairs and near, but not in, the kitchen. To ensure that smoke alarms are working properly, test and clean them once a month and replace the batteries at least twice a year. A good way to keep in mind when to change the batteries is to remember to: Always change batteries when time changes in the Fall and in the Spring. All smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
Having an escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with can help maintain a sense of relief during what could be a chaotic time. Practice escape plans on a regular basis to ensure that each family member knows what to do in case of a fire. If your home has more than one level, you may want to consider installing escape ladders. This gives people a way to avoid being trapped by a staircase or doorway that could be engulfed in flames.
Regularly clean your home's storage areas-garage, pantry and closets so trash, old furniture and flammable liquids do not accumulate. The most important thing to do to safeguard your home from fire is to talk. Include every person in your family in discussions about what to do in case of a fire. Make certain that all family members know their responsibilities and are familiar with at least two evacuation routes.
Keep It Clean: Electric Blankets and Pillows
Autumn means cooler weather and a time to pull electric blankets out of storage. When was the last time they were cleaned? To launder electric blankets, use a gentle cycle and a short agitation time-about two to three minutes. Do not dry in a dryer unless the care label recommends it. Hang the blanket over two lines or lay it flat to dry. Never dry clean an electric blanket; the chemicals may ruin the wiring.
Here's how they can be laundered in your home washer.