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Sharp Health News

Preventing home fires (infographic)

Nov. 30, 2015

When the weather turns cool and we light the fireplace, the risk of home fires increases dramatically. Don't let your holidays go up in smoke. Don Condon, a retired firefighter and Sharp facilities supervisor, shares his tips for fire safety and the proper use of a fire extinguisher.

Preventing home fires (infographic). Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays. On average, 40 holiday home fires are caused each day by children playing, 500 lives are claimed by holiday fires per year and one in 22 holiday fires – started by Christmas trees – result in death. However, when smoke alarms are installed, there is a 50 percent reduction in death risk from a house fire. The holiday season is one of joy, happiness, love and cherished memories, says Don Condon, a facilities supervisor at Sharp HealthCare and retired firefighter with 33 years of experience. Keep your holidays safe by following these simple safety precautions. Follow these tips to prevent your celebration from going up in flames: 1. Never pour water on a grease or oil fire. 2. Test smoke detectors once a month, and replace batteries twice a year. 3. Make sure holiday lights are in good condition. 4. Place trees, candles and decorations at least three feet from any heat source including your fireplace, portable space heater and candles. 5. Always unplug tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed. 6. Water your Christmas tree every day and consider a flame-retardant artificial tree. It’s important to know how to use a fire extinguisher. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your extinguisher before a fire happens. Remember to keep your back to an exit and stand 6 to 8 feet away from the fire. Leave the area if the fire does not begin to go out immediately. Use the P.A.S.S. acronym, which stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep, to remember how to use a fire extinguisher. P – Pull the pin. This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers may have other lever-release mechanisms. A – Aim low. Point the extinguisher nozzle (end of hose) at the base of the fire.
S – Squeeze the lever above the handle. This discharges the extinguishing agent. Some extinguishers have a button instead of a lever. S – Sweep from side to side. Move carefully toward the fire, keeping the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweeping back and forth until the flames go out.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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