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HOMEWISE Real Estate Tips and Advice Fire Hazards in the Home By JOE SZYNKOWSKI | Green Shoot Media REAL ESTATE 101 House fires can develop without any warning. Being prepared is of the utmost importance. Prevention Tips Sometimes, the problem can begin in an unseen part of the home, such as the wiring inside the walls or in the attic. These dangerous conditions are difficult to spot, but there are other common problem areas where fire can be prevented by taking proper care. The American Red Cross offers the following tips for heating your home safely: • Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home. Learn the common fire hazard areas that are probably already in the home, and know how to look for the warning signs before fire strikes. • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. IN THE KITCHEN According to American Red Cross, most home fires start in the kitchen and are usually a result of cooking. Most commonly, these fires develop on the stovetop rather than in the oven. Never leave your kitchen unattended when cooking or frying on the stovetop. Make sure items such as curtains, papertowel dispensers and dish rags are located a safe distance from burners. If fire does happen to contact something near the stove, it can quickly spread to the rest of the home. The microwave should be in an open area, leaving plenty of room around its vents so it can operate safely. Every kitchen should have a fire extinguisher readily available. It is crucial to stop a fire as soon as it grows out of control. If you find yourself battling a grease fire without an extinguisher, don’t attempt to • When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over as another safety measure. Read more tips from the Red Cross at http://rdcrss.org/1g6BLKm. hinder it with water. Your best bet is to put a lid on it to suffocate the flames. APPLIANCES American Red Cross reports that dryers are responsible for about nine out of 10 appliance fires. This is usually due to using a dryer with a full lint trap. Make sure you empty it after every load and double check it before beginning one. This habit can save you from disaster later. It’s also a good idea to check other appliances for wear on their cords or any unnecessary heat emitting from them. If you fear they need repair, don’t hesitate to call a local professional for an inspection. HEATING YOUR HOME Seventy-four percent of fire-related deaths involve fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves, according to the American Red Cross. Use extreme caution when heating your home when the temperatures drop. Heat-emitting appliances should be at least 3 feet away from flammable items. Centralheating systems should be inspected before use each year. General maintenance such as filter changes should be performed regularly. SPONSOR THIS PAGE AND YOUR AD WILL GO HERE!!