Making fire prevention a priority during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Kids are home from school. Adults are telecommuting. If you are facing a full house it is even more important than ever to make fire safety a priority in your home.
“Fire doesn’t take time-off, even during a national pandemic,” said David Kurasz, Executive Director of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board. “With so many people stuck at home, daily routines are far from normal and the added stress of the situation can result in normal safety practices falling by the wayside.”
“A fire can start in seconds and spread in minutes, on average giving residents only three to five minutes to safely escape,” added Kurasz. “By incorporating some simple safety practices for the whole family, you can help reduce the chances of injury and fire breaking out in your home.”
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets and power strips that can overheat, spark and cause fire.
- Check all extension cords to ensure they are rated for the proper use and that they are not damaged or frayed.
- Turn off all computer/gaming equipment before retiring.
- If using candles make sure they are placed out of the reach of children and pets who can knock them over.
- Keep candles away from curtains, bedding and other flammable materials.
- Follow the 3-foot safety rule for “open flames” such as fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, fire-pits, to keep children, pets and flammable materials at a safe distance.
- Keep all flammable materials such as dishcloths, paper towels, recipe books, etc., away from heat sources.
- Never leave cooking food unattended on a stove.
- Use devices only as directed: pressure cookers, toasters, ovens, slow cookers, air fryers, etc.
- Follow the 3-foot safety rule around cooking equipment when children are present to avoid injury.
Safety & Escape Plan
- Create an Escape Plan that includes escape routes and a safe meeting place away from the home, and practice, practice, practice!
- Make sure that all windows, doors, and hallways are clear of clutter that might block a potential exit.
- Install and test fire alarms in hallways and bedrooms and replace batteries frequently.
According to Kurasz, having a fire sprinkler system installed in your home is one of the safest most effective ways to protect your family and home from fire. Fire sprinklers react in minutes, often controlling fires before the fire department arrives. Sprinklers can also reduce the risk of dying in a fire by 80 percent and minimize property damage by 70 percent.
“We want to make sure that people not only stay healthy, but that they stay fire safe during this crisis by incorporating simple fire safety steps that can protect their family now and for years to come,” said Kurasz.