Fire agencies in Washington State have reported 31 fire deaths so far for 2009. This is a 29% increase over the 24 fire fatalities reported during the same time period in 2008. "The leading preventable fire causes are electrical-related and smoking. Prevention is the best defense against deadly fires," says State Fire Marshal Mike Matlick.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal recommends that every household take charge of fire safety by following the suggestions below:
Electrical Safety -
- Routinely inspect electrical wiring and appliances to ensure the equipment is in operable condition. Electrical system modification should be done by qualified professionals only.
- Purchase electrical appliances that have been listed by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).
- Extension cords should not be used in place of permanent wiring. If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Don't allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters, irons and hair dryers.
Smoking Safety -
- Smoke outside. Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and make sure cigarettes and ashes are fully extinguished.
- Never smoke in sleeping areas, while on medications or in a home where medical oxygen is used.
- Use reduced ignition strength cigarettes, commonly referred to as fire-safe cigarettes.
Protect you, your loved ones and your home from fire -
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
- Plan and practice an evacuation drill with all members of your family.
- Consider installing residential fire sprinklers in your home.