June is Home Safety Month
VALPARAISO, Ind. – May 26, 2011 – As the weather heats up, the risk for fire or electrical related injuries around the house increases with more people grilling outside and trying to stay cool inside. As the month of June marks Home Safety Month, McDaniel, a leader in full-service fire suppression, fire alarm and security systems for over 75 years, reminds everyone to be conscious of potential hazards around the home, especially considering these sobering statistics from the National Fire Protection Association:
- Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths in 2003-2006 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- In 2004-2008, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 7,700 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, which caused an annual average of 13 deaths, 120 injuries and $70 million in direct property damage.
- During 2004-2008, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 24,600 fires started by lightning. These fires caused annual averages of 12 civilian deaths, 47 civilian injuries, and $407 million in direct property damage.
McDaniel offers the following home safety tips to help ensure a safe summer season:
- Be responsible when firing up the grill: First and foremost, propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors and should be placed at least 10 feet away from the home, deck railings and out from under leaves and overhanging branches. Never grill indoors or in a garage. Keep children and pets away from the grill area and never leave your grill unattended. It’s also a good idea to keep a spray bottle with water nearby to help keep any flare ups under control.
- Turkey Fryers: When using a turkey fryer, make sure it is only used outdoors, a safe distance (at least 10 feet) from buildings and any other flammable materials. Never use turkey fryers in a garage, on a wooden deck, or under a tree. Additionally, never leave the turkey fryer unattended – if you do not watch the fryer carefully, the cooking oil will continue to heat until it catches fire. Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use. Keep an ABC type fire extinguisher nearby and never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
- Air conditioners and fans: Be sure to check the equipment for frayed wires and keep all cooling equipment clean. Fans can accumulate dust and dirt around the motor, which can cause a fire. Vacuum the fan to keep the motor clean. Air conditioning units should be maintained by a qualified technician. If an extension cord must be used, be sure to use an approved and correctly rated extension cord for use with the particular appliance and location.
- Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. A carbon monoxide detector should be placed on every level of the home. Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button and be sure the alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). If you follow daylight savings time in your area, when changing the time, it is also a good reminder to install new batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Storm Safety: Lightning associated with thunderstorms generates a variety of fire hazards. The power of lightning’s electrical charge and intense heat can electrocute on contact, splitting trees and causing fires. Before a storm, its best to unplug electrical appliances to help prevent power surges. During a storm, stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity and stay away from windows, doors, and stay off porches. Also be sure to have a flashlight on hand with extra batteries in case the power goes out. After a storm, check the home for damage and stay clear of downed wires and power lines.
Flood or water damage: If your home has sustained flood or water damage and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box without coming in contact with water, turn off the power. It is also important to remember to never stand in water without wearing protective clothing, such as rubber boots. Remove standing water, wet carpets and furnishings and air dry your home with good ventilation before restoring power. Don’t attempt to remove any electrical equipment yourself – it is best to bring in a licensed professional to check your home for damage and make any necessary repairs. Assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged including cable TV feeds. Appliances that have been exposed to water can short and become a fire hazard. Don’t operate any electrical equipment that has been exposed to water.
For additional information on home safety tips, please visit the Home Safety Council Web site at: www.homesafetycouncil.org
McDaniel is a holding of The Freedom Group, LLC, a private investment firm based in Geneva, Ill.