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October 10, 2011

Fire Safety Monday

The loss of property combined with the potential loss of life make residential house fires a devastating experience. Even when the fire isn’t fatal, the lost property and memories can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of experiencing or being seriously injured in a house fire. As temperatures drop and people take steps to warm their homes, now is a good time to learn about ways to protect your family and home from fire.

Fire Safety Tips:

Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and test them monthly. Studies show that installing and maintaining smoke alarms in the home reduce one’s risk of dying in a house fire by up to 50 percent. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and near all sleeping areas. Test your smoke alarm monthly to be sure the batteries are still working. Replace your smoke alarm batteries as soon as the alarm “chirps.” Smoke alarms have an expiration date and should be replaced after 10 years. If you live inside Baltimore City, the Baltimore City Fire Department http://www.baltimorecity.gov/Government/AgenciesDepartments/Fire/SafetyandPrevention/SmokeDetectors.aspx offers free smoke detectors and installation.

Invest in sprinklers. Residential sprinkler systems are an established, effective intervention for containing residential fires and preventing fire-related injury and death. National commissions, federal fire agencies, and organizations of fire and life safety professionals have long supported expanded use of sprinklers as a highly effective means of controlling fire injury and loss. The cost of installing fire sprinklers in homes is comparable to the costs of add-ons such as granite countertops or cabinet upgrades.

Create a fire escape plan and practice it often with your family. When creating your plan, consider the following: 

Fire Prevention Tips:

The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy conducts high-quality research to inform, create and disseminate programs and policies to reduce the burden of fires. The Center also provides community practice projects that reach out to those most in need to reduce the risk of injury and death from fires and burns. For more information on the Center’s work reducing the burden of fire, please see http://www.jhsph.edu/bin/i/j/FireFactSheet.pdf or contact the Johns Hopkins Children’s Safety Center http://www.jhsph.edu/injurycenter/practice/safety_centers/centers/safety_center at 410-614-5587.

Every Monday, the Johns Hopkins Healthy Monday Project, part of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, offers tips for preventing disease and injury, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Check back each week for new tips or visit our archive.