Posts Tagged "fire safety"

Focus on Fire Safety: Holiday Fire Safety

»Posted by on Dec 6, 2012 in Home Safety Information | Comments Off

Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 250 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 170 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires resulted in 21 deaths and 43 injuries.

Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. Learn how to prevent a fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home. Make sure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees. Help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season.

Christmas Trees

What’s a traditional Christmas morning scene without a beautifully decorated tree? If your household includes a natural tree in its festivities, take to heart the sales person’s suggestion – “Keep the tree watered.”

Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem. A dry and neglected tree can be.

Selecting a Tree for the Holidays

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long and, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

Source: fema.gov

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Chimney Maintenance for Warmth and Safety

»Posted by on Oct 24, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off

Chimney maintenance and a fireplace inspection can make the difference between warm safety and drafty danger.

Your fireplace, the most low-tech piece of equipment in your house, may seem like a simple load-and-light operation, but ignoring annual maintenance can impair its performance, leading to heated air (and dollars) blowing out the chimney, harmful smoke inside, and possibly even a chimney fire.

The average number of annual U.S. home fires caused by fireplace, chimney, and chimney connectors between 2003 and 2005 was 25,100, and the average costs for those fires was $126.1 million, based on the most recent statistics from the Chimney Safety Institute of America. That’s roughly $5,024 in damage per home. Annual chimney maintenance removes flammable creosote, the major cause of chimney fires, and identifies other performance problems.

Is it worth the $205 fee, two-hour service call, and all that ash possibly blackening your carpet? Here’s what you need to know to decide.

Annual inspections keep flames burning right

Creosote—combustible, tar-like droplets—is a natural byproduct of burning wood. The more wood you burn, the wetter or greener the wood, and the more often you restrict airflow by keeping your fireplace doors closed or your damper barely open, the more creosote is produced.

Soot build-up, while not flammable, can hamper venting. One half-inch of soot can restrict airflow 17% in a masonry chimney and 30% in a factory-built unit, according to the CSIA. Soot is also aggressively acidic and can damage the inside of your chimney.

The more creosote and soot, the more likely you are to see signs of chimney fire—loud popping, dense smoke, or even flames shooting out the top of your chimney into the sky. Chimney fires damage the structure of your chimney and can provide a route for the fire to jump to the frame of your house.

“If the chimney is properly maintained, you’ll never have a chimney fire,” says Ashley Eldridge, the education director of the CSIA.

The best way to ensure your chimney isn’t an oil slick waiting to ignite? Get it inspected.

Three inspection levels let you choose what you need

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/fireplaces-chimneys/chimney-safety-and-maintenance/#ixzz2AE5zkIGg

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One- and Two-Family and Multifamily Residential Building Fires Topical Reports Released

»Posted by on Jun 14, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) announces the release of two special reports focusing on the causes and characteristics of fires in one- and two-family and multifamily residential buildings. The reports One- and Two-Family Residential Building Fires (2008-2010) (PDF, 316 Kb) and Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2008-2010) (PDF, 286 Kb), were developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center.

Residential Building Fire Estimates

  • 240,500 fires in one- and two-family residential buildings occur each year.
  • Annually, one- and two-family residential building fires result in 2,050 civilian fire deaths, 8,350 civilian fire injuries, and 5.8 billion dollars in property loss.
  • 102,300 fires in multifamily buildings occur each year.
  • Annually, multifamily building fires result in 400 deaths, 4,175 injuries, and 1.2 billion dollars in property loss.

The reports are part of the Topical Fire Report Series and are based on data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for 2008 to 2010. According to the reports, cooking is the leading cause of both one- and two-family and multifamily residential buildings fires, followed by heating. Fire incidence in both types of residential properties peaks during winter months partially as a result of increases in heating and holiday-related fires. In addition, fires peak over the evening dinner hours in one- and two-family and multifamily residences when cooking fires are prevalent.

Topical reports explore facets of the United States fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.

For further information regarding other topical reports or any programs and training available at the USFA, visit www.usfa.fema.gov.

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Focus on Fire Safety: Holiday Fire Safety

»Posted by on Dec 7, 2011 in Blog, Home Safety Information | Comments Off

Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the
holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances
of fire. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and
the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 250 home fires involving
Christmas trees and another 170 home fires involving holiday lights and other
decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires resulted in 21 deaths
and 43 injuries.

Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles,
and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. Learn how to
prevent a fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home. Make sure all
exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees. Help ensure that
you have a fire safe holiday season.

Christmas Trees

What’s a traditional Christmas morning scene without a beautifully decorated
tree? If your household includes a natural tree in its festivities, take to
heart the sales person’s suggestion – “Keep the tree watered.”

Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually. Typically, shorts in
electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree
fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem. A dry and neglected tree can be.

Selecting a Tree for the Holidays

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the
branches, and the needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The
trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the
tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too
long and, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat
vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by
heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a
tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two
weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When
the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree
is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community
pick-up service.

Source: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/focus/holiday.shtm

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Home Fires Spreading Faster, Study Shows

»Posted by on Nov 9, 2011 in Blog, Home Safety Information | Comments Off

In less than three minutes, a house fire can become uncontrollable. In 1975,
house fires tended to not become uncontrollable until an average of 17 minutes,
according to a report by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology.

Despite better smoke alarms, home fires are spreading faster nowadays,
studies show, so why are blazes spreading quicker?

Certain home furnishings may be one of the biggest culprits of home fires
burning faster, some fire experts say. For example, upholstered furniture
contains flammable polyurethane foam, which can potentially increase fire
hazards. Also, fire experts note in an AOL Real Estate article, homes nowadays
are constructed with more open floor plans and building materials, such as
wallboard, that can contribute to faster spreading fires too.

Source: “Hot
Stat: Today’s Homes Burn Faster Than Ever
,” AOL Real Estate News (Nov. 7,
2011)

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