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Protect Your Family from the Dangers of Fire
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A house fire can take the irreplaceable things that are most important to you like family heirlooms, photos, or a loved one and threaten your financial security. But with some foresight, you can safeguard your family from the dangers of fire.

Inspect your home. Prevent fires from starting by inspecting your home routinely for fire hazards and removing them. Take time to check for these basic fire hazards:

-Piles of stored newspapers or other debris

-Overloaded outlets or old and frayed extension cords

-Matches and lighters within reach of children

-Flammable liquids or aerosols stored near any heat source

-Materials on or near a stove that could catch on fire

Maintain smoke detectors. According to the NFPA, 70 percent of deaths annually occur in homes without smoke detectors or without working smoke detectors. Because fires can start in many ways, installing smoke detectors and knowing how to respond if fire occurs are essential. To reduce the chance of injury or death, ensure:

-A smoke detector is installed outside of each bedroom or sleeping area and on every level of your home

-You test smoke detectors once a month

-You change smoke detector batteries once a year

-You replace smoke detectors every 8 to 10 years

Understand extinguishers. It’s important to have the proper fire extinguishers and know how to use them. In your kitchen, keep an extinguisher suitable for grease and electrical fires, such as the all-purpose ABC extinguisher. Also, keep fire extinguishers near the furnace, garage and in other locations where fires are most likely to start. Make sure your family knows how to use extinguishers. But remember that not all fires are controllable. Fires spread quickly and easily, so only attempt to extinguish one if it is small and relatively contained. In other words, don’t take a risk.

Plan an escape route. Planning and practicing multiple escape routes with your family and designating a meeting place outside the home are the most important steps in knowing how to escape a fire. Every room should have at least two escape routes. Windows, as a secondary escape route, should never be painted shut.

Stay calm. Having planned escape routes won’t help if your family doesn't know how to behave in a fire. Teach young children not to hide from fire or smoke and not to be afraid of firefighters. Everyone in the family should know to crawl underneath the smoke to escape a fire, to “stop, drop and roll” to smother a fire on their body and to never reenter a burning building once they have escaped.

Educate children. It is important to teach children fire safety education. Children can learn more about fire safety through a program which helps them be prepared for fires, by identifying the dangers of fire and how to plan an escape route out of their home. For more information on this program, contact me for free activity books, geared toward children grades kindergarten through fifth.

Guidance from a trained professional. Just as it’s important to have a plan to prevent or escape a fire, it’s important to have a plan for your future financial security.



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About the Author

Robyn Schultz, Fifth Third Bank
211 West St. Charles Rd.
Lombard, IL 60148
630-424-2800

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