Home fires are the most common disaster the American Red Cross responds to, sending volunteers to the scene of fires at all hours of the day and night to help those affected. In 2013, one home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds, with home fires occurring most often in the winter season when people may use unsafe heat sources. With this in mind, Somerville Aluminum would like to provide the following safety tips:
• Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
• Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
• If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
• When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over as another safety measure.
• Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
• Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
• Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces professionally inspected and cleaned once a year.
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
• Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
• Once a month check whether each alarm in the home is working properly by pushing the test button.
• Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.
• Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Never disable smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
• Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
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