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Environmental Health and Safety Blog | EHSWire

Don't Get Burned! October is Fire Safety Month

Posted by Shivi Kakar

Sep 29, 2009 5:06:49 AM

Fire Safety Month

October is Fire Safety Month. We’ll see the billboards and commercials and kids will learn about fire in school, but what does it mean?

It’s time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and don’t forget the carbon monoxide detectors, there should be one near all bedrooms. Check your fire extinguishers. Is the charge still good? What’s the expiration date? If you have kids, do they know what to do in case of fire?

The numbers speak pretty loud. According to the National Fire Protection Association there were over 1,451,500 fires reported in the U.S. in 2008 that took 3,320 civilian lives and injured 16,705 others. The cost in property damage was $15.5 billion. Fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined.

As with many tragedies, much of this loss could have been prevented. Planning and preparedness is critical, at home as well as at work. Fire rarely gives you a second chance. A small flame can quickly get out of control. Fast, proper, action can save lives and property. Improper action, like using the wrong type of extinguisher, can turn a bad situation into a catastrophe. Would you know what to do? At work, are you familiar with the fire and emergency action plans? If there are fire extinguishers have employees been trained in their use? The law requires both.

In a fire, it’s often the smoke that kills. It can quickly disorient and trap occupants. Many fall victim to smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. The gasses given off by many household materials when burning can be highly toxic. Staying low to the floor may help you escape. When you’re out, stay out. Too many have died going back to retrieve some keepsake. Take the time to learn what to do and practice fire prevention. It’s time well spent.

Topics: General Industry H&S, H&S Training, Fire Safety, Working Green, NFPA

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