Be prepared to cope with a fire at home

April 19, 2013 

• Before buying a fire extinguisher, check its intended purpose. Some extinguishers effectively treat a few or all of the following varieties of fires: trash, wood, paper, liquids, grease and electrical.

• Put fire extinguishers throughout your house and on all levels, including along the hallways outside bedrooms and bathrooms. Install the kitchen fire extinguisher near the stove but not directly under it. You don’t want to be stumbling around beneath the flames in the event of a stovetop fire. Mount it off-center along the interior of a cabinet door to take up as little space as possible.

• Be sure extinguishers are full and ready for use. If they’re battery-powered, remember to check them regularly. It’s a good idea to change the batteries twice a year, perhaps at the same times that you change your clocks in the fall and spring.

• Don’t fight a grease fire with water. When cooking, keep a box of baking soda available to put out any grease fires, or extinguish the flames with a lid.

• When fighting a fire with an extinguisher, stand 6 feet away and sweep the nozzle back and forth.

• Install smoke and heat detectors to notify your family and allow plenty of time to escape during a house fire.

• Develop a family escape plan, with evacuation routes from each room.

• Place stickers on children’s windows to help firefighters find their rooms.

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