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The Importance of Fire Safety | Home & Garden

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The Importance of Fire Safety
Home & Garden

In recent days, there have been stories of debilitating fires, that have destroyed homes and taken lives all across our region, even in the Oxon Hill area.  Most recently, there was a fire in the Rosecroft Mews Apartment Complex, on the 2400 block of Corning Avenue in Fort Washington, MD, which is very close to the Oxon Hill/Fort Washington border off of Brinkley Road.  The fire at Rosecroft Mews is still under investigation, but it is a reminder of just how important it is to take precautions to prevent such an occurrence to happen, if at all possible.  At the end of 2009, there was a fire at the Brookside Park Condominiums that caused an estimated $1.5 million worth of damage and displaced 67 residents into temporary homes.  The cause of this fire was an unattended candle.  And what's even more glaring is the effect these fires have on a number of families who live in multi-family residents.

With this said, it is important that we understand the importance of fire safety in our own homes so that we prevent these circumstances for our families as well as those who live around us.  According to the Home Safety Council website, to prevent fire damage and to prevent any fires from spreading we must:

With Smoke Detectors:

  • Have working smoke alarms and hold fire drills. If you build a new home, install fire sprinklers.

In the Kitchen:

  • Before cooking, roll up sleeves and use oven mitts. Loose-fitting clothes can touch a hot burner and catch on fire.
  • Stay by the stove when cooking, especially when you are frying food.
  • Keep things that can burn, such as dishtowels, paper or plastic bags, and curtains at least three feet away from the range top.
  • If you must keep matches or lighters in your jacket or purse, put them in a place where children cannot see or touch them.
  • Know how to put out a small pan fire by sliding a lid over the flames.

With Space heaters:

  • Space heaters need space. Keep them at least three feet away from things that can burn, such as curtains or stacks of newspaper. Always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.

With Candles:

  • Only light candles when an adult is in the room. Do not allow children to keep candles or incense in their rooms.
  • Always use stable, candle holders made of material that won't catch fire, such as metal, glass, etc
  • Blow out candles when leaving the room.

With Cigarettes:

  • Use “fire-safe” cigarettes and smoke outside.
  • Use large, deep ashtrays on sturdy surfaces like a table.
  • Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before dumping them in the trash.

And in general:

  • Learn how and when to use a fire extinguisher, and remember where it is located.
And one of the single most important steps to protecting you family and your belongings is to invest in renter's/homeowners insurance.  This is advice that is important for those who live in detached homes, but also even more important for those who live in town homes, condominiums, and apartments, where people live attached to their neighbors.  Having insurance will cover the replacement value of costly property such as televisions, laptops, and anything else of significant value.  Once you have insurance, also take the time to make a list of items that you have in your possession and place the list in a safe place outside of your home, such as your car, a relative/close friend's place, or even sending it to yourself electronically by e-mail. Taking these steps, and sharing this information with your neighbors can give your community less of a hassle in the event of unfortunate circumstances.
Home & Garden