Make a Resolution to Prevent Fires

It’s the new year! That means it’s time to think of what you will do to make this year better than the last. Whether you choose to work on your physical health, improve your career, or just keep doing things the same way, you should also make a resolution to be safe. It is important to put focus on safety, especially fire safety, and make efforts to make the new year safe for your and your family.

Update Your Alarms
Make an investment to keep your home safe with updated smoke, heat and CO alarms, like the ones developed by Crossfire. Having alarms that are proven to be more effective and advanced gives you and your family a better chance to be safe in the new year.

Make a Fire Escape Plan
If you have a fire escape plan in place, review it with your family so safety is fresh on everyone’s minds as you start the new year. If you do not have a fire safety plan in place, get with your family to come up with a plan on what to do if there is a fire in your home. Have your family run through drills where each person uses different exits so if a fire does occur, your family knows exactly what to do to be safe.

Take Action
Read up on safety precautions you can take in your home to keep each room safe. Start in the kitchen and work your way through every room, doing whatever you can to ensure a fire will not start in that room.

Say No to Open Flames
Candles, cigarettes and incense are so last year. Things that bring an open flame into your home always come with added danger that can result in a devastating fire. Make sure you say goodbye to obnoxious candles and incense in 2016. And seriously, stop smoking.

Teach Your Kids
Once you have made your home safe, take time to teach your children what they can to do prevent fires. Show them the dangers fire presents, what they can do to avoid it, and how to keep themselves fire-free in each room of the house. The more informed children are, the less likely they are to be hurt.

Get Ready For a Great Year
If you focus just a little bit of time on safety precautions, it makes it easier for you to enjoy the upcoming year. Keep safety in mind all year long and you will be in for a great 2016!

Fire Safety: Portable Generators

Whether it’s for tailgating, camping, or bad weather knocking out the power in your home, portable generators can come in handy. There are a lot of times when we need power and cannot access it. In these moments, portable generators come to the rescue to offer electricity for you to enjoy the conveniences of modern life anywhere.

However, portable generators, despite being useful, can also be very dangerous if not used properly. Generators should only be used as a temporary solution to the lack of electricity. Since they run on gasoline, they should be handled with the utmost care and safety.

Before turning your generator on, make sure you carefully read all operating instructions. Make sure you have properly working CO alarms in your home before using a generator. Effective CO alarms, like the ones made by Crossfire Alarms, can warn you if the generator is causing a potential threat in your home.

Never use a generator indoors, instead always use it outdoors in a well-ventilated area away from any doors, windows or vent openings. Generators should never be used in an attached garage. Even if the door is open, it can introduce harmful toxins into your home. When placing the generator, make sure the exhaust points away from your home.

Never refuel a generator while it is running. If you need to refuel, make sure your generator is completely turned off and give it time to cool down before adding the fuel. Make sure your generator does not need a specific type of fuel. If so, only use that when filling your generator. Store any fuel for the generator in the correct container and label it clearly so everyone knows its purpose. All gasoline containers should be stored in a well-ventilated, outdoor space and kept out of reach of children.

Never let children operate a generator. Tell all kids to maintain a five foot radius around the generator to ensure safety. Never try to lift a generator on your own. Ask for help from an adult who is able to properly lift the weight of the appliance without injury.

Portable generators can be a very useful appliance to have on hand when the need arises. If you use yours properly and take the right precautions, you will be able to enjoy it for all its uses.

Winter Safety Tips

As they say in Westeros, winter is coming. Actually, it’s already here, and it’s filling our days with cozy nights by the fire, snowy winter activities, and dreams of what it will be like when it’s finally summer again. Whether you love winter or count the days until it’s over, there is still something fun and special about the season. However, there is a lot of danger in regards to fire associated with winter. Each fire has a different cause and it is important to take a few safety precautions to make sure your winter is full of cheer not fear.

Half of all reported home fires occur during the months of December, January and February. According to FEMA, 905 people die in home fires each year during the months of December, January and February alone. During these months, approximately $2.1 billion in property loss occurs. 67% of these fires occur in one or two family homes, and most occur between the hours of 5 to 8 p.m.

Heating equipment is involved in 1 in every 6 home winter fires, according to the NFPA. To make sure yours is safe, have all heating equipment inspected and tested each year. If you are using a space heater, make sure to take the proper precautions before turning it on. Have your home furnace or heating system inspected and serviced every 12 months. Keep any combustible materials at least 3 feet away from any heating source at all times.

Before lighting a fire in your fireplace, have it cleaned by a certified chimney sweep and inspected for any damage. Make sure you always practice safety when using a fireplace and clean it regularly to avoid build up of soot. Never let children near a fire or allow them to handle any fireplace tools.

If you love to decorate for the holidays, do so wisely. Make sure you watch your tree for any potential fires. Make sure it does not dry out, is no where near a heat source or open flame, and is not blocking any exits. Test any lights for frays or damage before placing them on the tree or elsewhere around your home. Make sure to only buy decorations that are flame resistant and avoid using candles if at all possible.

Before you turn on your heater or light a fire, please make sure you have your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors inspected. Heat sources produce a large quantity of carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous if not inspected. Installing effective, fast-working alarms, like those developed by Crossfire Alarms, can help alert you sooner if any potential threat occurs in your home.

It is easy to keep your home safe from fire during the winter months. Make sure to repeat the dangers of fire to your children, so they know what to do if one occurs. The more prepared you and your family are, the more you can safely enjoy the best parts of winter.

7 Most Common Holiday Decoration Disasters

Nothing makes a home feel cozier than Christmas decorations. The garland, wreaths, trinkets, stockings and more make our homes feel a little bit warmer and a little bit more magical. These traditional decorations are just one of the many things that make the holiday season so bright. But if you aren’t careful, your holiday décor can turn into a fire hazard. Each year, holiday decorations, excluding Christmas trees, cause an average of 860 reported home structure fires.

To keep your holidays safe and ensure the only fires are made safely (and responsibly) in your fireplace, make sure to avoid the most dangerous holiday decorations disasters.

1. Candles
December is the peak time of year for home candle fires, according to FEMA. Each year, candles cause roughly 38% of all holiday decoration-related fires. More than half of all candle fires occur when something is too close to the open flame. To keep your home safe, avoid lighting candles if at all possible. Try switching to battery-operated candles. If you are determined to keep scented candles, make sure there is nothing flammable near the candle. All candles that don’t already come in jars should be placed in an appropriate, non-flammable holder. Make sure you keep wicks trimmed to one-quarter-inch at all times. Never leave a lit candle unattended.

2. Cooking Equipment
While not technically a decoration, you can’t think of the holidays without thinking of the food. Cooking equipment causes approximately 18% of fires caused by holiday decorations. This often happens when a decoration is left on or too close to a stove or cooking equipment when it is turned on. To avoid turning your kitchen into a Christmas catastrophe, make sure there are no decorations placed on or near your stove. If you have any decorations such as an ornaments hanging above the stove, remove it before cooking. Never leave your kitchen unattended when any appliance is in use.

3. Intentional Fires
According to the NFPA, 10% of fires that begin with holiday decorations are intentional. This definition usually includes fires that were not caused by failure of equipment or heat source, act of nature or any other accident. Fires identified as intentional include fires where the cause was undetermined after investigation, under investigation or not reported. In most cases, these fires are deliberately set by someone of any age. Make sure you are always aware of who is in and around your home during the holidays, and educate any children on the dangers of fire.

4. Lighting Equipment
Christmas lights are definitely one of the most iconic holiday decorations. Whether outside or inside, they definitely brighten up the holiday cheer. Each year, these lights and other electrical issues cause approximately 8% of decoration-related fires. When purchasing lights, always buy lights that have been approved by a national recognized testing laboratory and check any strands for frays, damage, or missing bulbs. Never connect more than three strands of mini lights. Do not overload outlets with decorations or wires. If any electrical decoration gets too hot, unplug it and turn it off immediately before disposing of it properly.

5. Heating Equipment
It’s no surprise that heating equipment, such as fireplaces and space heaters, are dangerous when not used properly. These devices we use to make our homes cozy are responsible for 8% of fires that begin with decorations. To keep your home safe, make sure no decorations are placed in front of or near your fireplace. Watch out for stockings that could ignite, and always make sure you have a screen in front of your fire when it is lit to help control the blaze. Use a three-foot radius as a buffer for all decorations near the fireplace. Never leave a lit fire unattended. If you use a space heater, make sure to turn it off when you leave the home or room. Do not place anything within 2 feet of a space heater, and always check the device for damage to the cords. If it gets too hot, turn it off and unplug it immediately.

6. Smoking Materials
Smoking is dangerous. No matter how many times we say, there are still people who enjoy their nightly cigarette or cigar. While we can’t control your health habits, we can help you be safer when it comes to avoiding causing a fire by your bad habits. Each year, smoking materials are responsible for causing 6% of fires that begin with holiday decorations. If you do smoke, always do so outside away from any potentially flammable decorations. When you’re done with your cigarette or cigar, put it out completely, making sure there is no red glow left at all. Dispose of your smoking materials in a safe, non-flammable container. Never leave a lit cigar, cigarette or pipe anywhere inside or near a flammable decoration.

7. Playing with Heat Source
It doesn’t matter what age we are, some of us are just fascinated with lights and fire. Despite what people might think, it is not cool to play with fire or candles or any type of heat source. These accidents account for 5% of decoration-ignited fires each holiday season. Often times, someone playing with matches or lighters, or messing with some other heat source like a candle causes these fires. These fires are not classified as intentional. To avoid this, make sure to educate your children on the importance of fire safety and why they should not play with lighters, matches, or fire. Never leave children (or irresponsible adults) unattended near open flames, lighters, matches or other heat sources.