BY: COURTNEY GILSTRAP LEVINUS
There’s nothing scarier than a fire and they are almost always the result of a simple accident. Small steps of prevention can prevent fires in your home. If you experience a fire and suspect that you need help putting it out, call 911 immediately for help. Fire moves very fast and can be unpredictable.
A quick audit of your kitchen and home can prevent the common causes of fire.
Use care in the kitchen
The kitchen is frequently the scene of apartment fires. A little bit of clean up as you cook can prevent accidents. You should never leave towels or potholders on the stove or on top of a pan that could catch fire. You must also remember to turn off the stove or oven when you are done and keep flammable items away from the area as it cools. And never leave cooking foods unattended.
We’ve all seen a small oven or stovetop fire in a dinner disaster, but it’s important to know what to do to put out that fire. For a small pan fire, take a lid or a larger pan and put it over the fire to extinguish it and leave the pan there to cool for at least 30 minutes. Don’t throw water on it. (This creates little explosions of steam.) Turn off the burner immediately.
If you have an oven fire, do not throw water or anything else in the oven. In fact, don’t open the oven door. Turn it off, and let it cool down. If there are flames coming out of the top or the sides of the oven, you may need to use your kitchen fire extinguisher, but do not open the door. It adds oxygen which feeds the fire.
Take care smoking in and out the home Cigarettes that aren’t fully extinguished are still one of the leading cause of fires in homes. Dropped cigarettes may light carpet, linens or furniture and create a fast-moving fire. Dropping butts outside in grass or off the balcony may cause an unintended fire if the cigarette still has some embers. The same is true of cigarettes that are thrown into the trash before they are totally out.
Use battery-operated candles instead of fire Today’s battery-operated candles look like the real thing! Just place a battery light in your favorite candle and it will flicker like a real fire, without the danger of the flame. Good battery lights don’t burn hot so there’s almost no danger of a fire.
If you are using a candle, keep them away from curtains, linens or other flammable materials. Be sure to blow out any candles when you leave the room.
These tragic apartment fires we see on the news are often preventable. It’s also a reminder to check smoke alarms in your home and be sure they are in good working order. They can save your life and the lives of your neighbors in an emergency.
The Arizona Multihousing Association is the statewide trade association for the apartment industry, representing more than 2,000 members in legislative, legal and regulatory matters.
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