It's our job as parents to keep our kids safe. Every night I ask my husband if he locked the doors and set the alarm, and his answer is always yes. While my tendencises for reassurance is admittedly annoying, I can't help it-- I'm a mama bear and over protector.
October is Fire Safety Month and I'm not going to bore you with obvious tips on educating your kids on 911; instead, I want to share with you a powerful story and insight about keeping your home fire safe.
A few years ago, a friend of mine witnessed a tragic accident in his neighborhood. On Christmas morning, a Christmas tree caught fire from a faulty electrical outlet. The fire killed five people-- 3 being children. My friend has since made it his personal crusade to raise awareness of fire protection and prevent these tragedies from happening.
My friend--Marc Toland--has since created Sooner Alarms, groundbreaking technology that helps detect fires right from the source. He is coming out with some pretty cool products in 2016, but in the meantime, has offered some invaluable insight when it comes to ensuring a fire-free home.
There are a handful of overlooked fire hazards we might not even realize. Here are some to consider:
Faulty wiring behind the walls - Over 80% of residential electrical fires occur because of wiring that’s behind your walls. December and January are the most dangerous months for electrical fires due to using more lighting, heating and appliances. If a light switch is hot to the touch or flickers, call an electrician. Also, replace any wires that might be frayed or damaged. And if your lights short circuit frequently, that could also signal a problem.
Electric blankets – Most electric blanket fires are related to bad cords or overheating and igniting materials nearby. Avoid using electric blankets with a broken or exposed cord. Don’t put another blanket on top of an electric blanket or allow your pet to sleep on it. According to the NY City Fire Department, blankets over 10 years old cause 99% of the electric blanket fires.
Overloaded extension cords – The CPSC estimates that extension cords cause about 3,300 residential fires each year. The greatest danger is overloading extension cords, which results in overheating. Check extension cords regularly to be sure they are not damaged, and if it feels hot to the touch, replace it immediately.
Dryer vents – Most people clean out the lint trap of their dryer but don’t realize the importance of cleaning the dryer hose attached in the back. This can clog with lint and moisture and cause a fire. If you notice that your clothes are suddenly taking longer than normal to dry, clean your vent pipe or hire a service to do it.
Other safety tips include:
- Having properly installed smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a reported fire by half. Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on every level of the home. Test the smoke alarm on the first of every month.
- Place specially designed stickers from the fire department on the window of each child’s bedroom which will alert fire fighters that a child could be present in that room.
- Keep fire extinguishers in various places around your home including the kitchen and garage.
- If you use a portable space heater, be sure it has built-in safety features, such as automatic shutoffs, anti-tipping devices, and heat guards.
- Purchase a 2-Story Emergency Fire Escape Ladder and keep it somewhere in or near your bedroom.
Sorry for the downer of a post, but better safe than sorry.
For more on Sooner Alarms, click here.
Nadine Bubeck is a multi-media personality, author, blogger, PR pro, keynote speaker, and blessed boy mom. The TV News anchor turned all things mama contributes to numerous publications and is often utilized on TV as a parenting expert. Her niche: everything mom, baby, toddler, child, and family. She is the founder and owner of All Things Mama Media, LLC, the parent company for All Things Mama TV, BoyMamas.com, and more.