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Watching_the_fireplaceA lot of us have been feeling the wrath of cold weather recently, which makes it nearly impossible to spend time anywhere but indoors. This means keeping your home warm and cozy, which often increases the risks of a fire even if it is below freezing outside.

Safe Kids Worldwide reported that residential fires accounted for 322 of the 365 child deaths from fires or burns in 2010 alone. To educate the public on this pressing issue, the 2014 National Burn Awareness week is celebrated February 2-8. This year, it comes right off the heels of the devastating fire in Kentucky that resulted in the deaths of one mother and her 8 children.

As fire and burns go hand in hand, review the following safety tips to help prevent another fire or burn related tragedy:

1. Design a family escape plan

  • Create an escape plan with your family that includes at least 2 ways to exit the home in case of a fire emergency, and time how long these exit methods take.
  • Keep the emergency plan in a location where kids see it regularly, such as on the refrigerator.
  • Make sure children know to feel a door before opening it in case of a fire, and know not to open the door if it feels hot.
  • Choose a location to meet that is a safe distance from the home.

2. Check your smoke alarms

  • Properly used smoke alarms reduce the possibility of a fatal fire by up to 50%.
  • Replace batteries at least once a year.
  • It is recommended to check smoke alarms twice per year, so use daylight savings times as a reminder to ensure yours are working properly.

3. Keep kids safe in the kitchen

  • Always supervise children around a hot stove or oven.
  • Keep flammable items such as rags or wooden utensils away from the stove.
  • Keep hot liquid, such as a cup of coffee or tea, out of a child’s reach.
  • Ensure that a fire extinguisher is readily available in case of an emergency.

4. Watch out for any home hazards

  • Teach children the dangers of playing with candles and matches, and keep these items out of their reach.
  • Place a barrier between children and the fireplace.
  • Keep children at least 3 feet away from a space heater and turn them off when leaving the room.
  • Make sure appliances are in good condition without any frayed cords.
  • Do not overload an extension cord.

5. Don’t forget about the water heater

  • Test bath water on your wrist before beginning a child’s bath.
  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or to the manufacturer’s setting.
  • Do not leave children unsupervised around a hot water heater.

 

For more information on fire and burn safety, please visit http://www.safekids.org/fires-burns-and-scalds-prevention or http://www.nfpa.org/

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