MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – National Fire Protection Association dedicates this week each year to Fire Prevention Safety to serve as a reminder for families to practice home escape safety plans, test smoke alarms, and warn about leading fire triggers.
From the time a smoke detector goes off, you may only have one to two minutes to escape quickly, and when all you have is minutes or seconds, every moment is crucial.
Two of the leading causes of house fires are cooking and heating.
Unattended cooking is the number one cause of fires in the kitchen. With nearly two-thirds of kitchen fires triggered by food or cooking materials, the National Fire Protection Association recommends not to leave anything grilling, frying, or boiling out of sight and keep anything flammable away from your stove.
With a change in season and transition to cooler temperatures, heaters become a fire hazard you will want to be aware of. “Space heaters come out and folks don’t have a good perimeter around them to avoid something catching on fire or kids running around accidentally getting burned,” Lt. Jonathan Evans said.
Evans recommends if using a space heater to make sure you consider proper placement and keep a good distance, three to five feet away at minimum, from anything that can burn including, furniture, clothing, paper, and rugs.
Space heaters are recommended to be plugged into wall outlets only, avoiding use of extension cords and power strips, as heaters can overheat these more easily.
Some tips to consider when creating an efficient evacuation plan include: find two ways out of the home, if you have children, let them be involved in the planning, and choose a designated meeting spot outside away from where a fire could reach.
Smoke alarm batteries should be tested at least once every month by pressing a button to make sure it’s working. If you touch the button, a beep should occur and if it doesn’t you’ll want to change the batteries out.
Fire officials recommend even if working, batteries should be replaced once a year and detectors to be replaced every ten years.
If you do not have a smoke alarm or are unsure if it is installed properly, Horry County Fire Rescue crews are going door to door in between calls to provide alarms or installation help to those who welcome it.
Fire safety month continues through October and fire prevention week goes through October 12th.
For more tips on how you can keep your family safe and how to make sure your appliances are working correctly, you can visit the National Fire Prevention Association’s page here.