Take steps to prevent fires at home
October is National Home Inspection Month, which makes this the perfect time to inspect your home for fire hazards. Look for:
- Old wiring and overloaded electrical circuits
- Worn or damaged outlets and cords and plugs on lamps and appliances
- Extension cords run under rugs
- Faulty heating systems, e.g., has your heating system been professionally serviced and checked this year? Is your chimney clean if you intend to use a fireplace or woodstove this winter?
- Kitchen appliances and power tools left plugged in when not in use
- Appliances that spark, smoke, or smell when turned on
- Containers of flammable substances, such as gas for the mower, not tightly sealed in appropriate containers or stored near heat or ignition sources
- Too many appliances or tools plugged into the same outlet
- Oily rags left lying around in the workshop or broom closet
- Smoke detectors with old or no batteries
- No family emergency plan for evacuation in case of a fire, or no recent fire drill to practice evacuation procedures
Every home is vulnerable to fire. Yours could go up in flames, along with the items you’ve worked so hard to own, unless you and your family take fire safety precautions and inspect regularly for fire hazards.
You can prevent fires in the workplace
October 3 through 9 is Fire Prevention Week so this is a great time to think about how you can help to prevent workplace fires.
- Put waste in proper containers.
- Keep combustible materials like cardboard, paper, and wood away from heat and heat-producing equipment.
- Keep work areas free of dust and lint.
- Follow storage precautions on labels and SDSs
- Clean up spills immediately.
- Report leaks right away.
- Use nonflammable substitutes whenever possible for cleaning and other tasks.
- Use approved airtight metal containers that are kept closed when not in use.
- Ground containers during transfers.
- Use only in well-ventilated areas, away from heat and other ignition sources.
- Treat empty containers as you would full ones, unless purged.
- Don’t overload outlets, circuits, or motors.
- Replace cords and wires with worn or broken insulation.
- Get good ground connections.
- Keep machines and motors clean of dust and grease.
Fuel and ignition sources
- Smoke only in designated areas.
- Extinguish cigarettes and matches completely and dispose of them safely.
- Contain welding operations.
- Keep compressed gas cylinders secured and stored away from ignition sources.
- Use SDSs and labels. Keep incompatible chemicals apart.
History of Fire Prevention Week
Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.