As summer is approaching, March has the most numbered of incidents of fire here in the metro. These dates back to 1966, when then President Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation 115-A that assigned a particular aspect of safety and accident prevention to each month of the year. This initiative, according to the proclamation, propagates “safety consciousness among our people every day of the year as a positive preventive approach to a problem that can be solved by more caution, vigilance, sobriety, exercise of common sense and respect for the law.”
In pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 115-A, declaring the month of March and every year thereafter as Fire Prevention Month, you can vastly cut down deadly fire risks by exercising good safety habits and simple prevention steps.
This article lists the “Big 4″ most common causes of preventable fires and tells you the simple things you can and should do to keep them from starting. Prevention costs little or nothing.
Here’s the Big 4 Ways to prevent Fire according to WikiHow:
1. Fire causes by wrong installations. Look into the possibility of installing a lightning protection system in your home if you live in an area where lightning is a frequent problem. The savings from reduced damages to appliances may offset the cost of this upgrade. Check the condition of your home’s electrical system. Here’s how you can check your electrical system in your house.
- Look for improperly grounded receptacles. Many modern appliances require a “three pronged” (grounded) receptacle, but people will sometimes use an adapter to bypass this safety feature, or even break a ground prong off an appliance cord. Changing existing circuits to provide grounding is a job that is best left to a professional electrician.
- Look in the attic and crawl spaces for wiring which has been damaged by pests or insects. Some old wiring is insulated with a material which insects eat or chew on, and squirrels or other rodents will often chew the thermoplastic insulation off of modern nonmetallic cable (Romex).
- Look for overloaded circuit breakers, panel boxes, or fuse boxes. Check for breakers or fuses which may have circuits “piggy-backed” on them. These are rated for single circuit protection, but sometimes in outdated or undersized panel boxes, people will put two or even more wires in the terminal of a single breaker or fuse.
- Notice flickering lights, or intermittent power surges. These conditions may be caused by outside influences, but if they occur often, they may indicate a bad connection or a short in the circuit.
- Note breakers which trip, or fuses that blow frequently. This is almost always a sign of an overloaded circuit or other wiring problem, usually of a most serious nature.
- Check the ground cable. A failure in the building grounding system and bonding can be dangerous in regard to electrical shock, as well as fire. Look for loose split bolts, clamps, or other connecting devices, and corrosion.
- Be especially careful to notice any connections in wiring other than copper. Installed correctly, and with tight connections, aluminum wire is not excessively dangerous, but when connections are made to copper wires, an electrolytic reaction may occur, causing increased resistance in the connection which will generate excessive heat. If you are able to apply an antioxidant compound to aluminum connections, it will help decrease the risk of oxidation causing a short circuit at these locations.
2. Fire causes by LPG or gas system. Check the natural gas/LP gas system in your home. You will want to look for loose fittings, leaking valves, faulty pilot lights, and debris or improperly stored flammable materials in areas near these appliances.
- Check the vent stacks on gas water heaters, furnaces, and clothes dryers.
- Check the automatic ignition systems or pilot lights on these fixtures, as well, particularly for any guards which are not properly installed, and for lint or dust buildup in the immediate area around them.
- Have the gas plumbing (pipes), valves, and regulators inspected by a professional any time you smell gas or suspect a leak.
3. Fire causes by house decorations. Be careful with candles, oil lamps, and other open flame illumination or decorations. House decorations like lamp shades, scented candles, scented lights are often cause of fie when over heat.
- Cover the flame with a wire cage to prepare something from falling or blowing onto the flame, and to prevent children and pets from coming in contact with the flame.
- Extinguish the fire when leaving the room, if even for a minute. After all, you’ll be right back, and you can immediately relight the candle.
- Unplug lamps when not in use especially when leaving the room.
4. Fire causes by cigarettes. Most numbered of reasons why there is fire is cigarettes. Not proper disposal of used of cigarettes can cause fire.
- Put out the cigarette thoroughly in an ashtray or water-damp sink and go to bed.
- Do not smoke in bed. When you’re in bed it’s easy to fall asleep and drop your cigarette on the floor allowing it to set fire to the carpet. Cleaning out the ashtray? Place the ashes in the sink and dampen them, then scoop them up and place them in the trash can away from the house.