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    Taking Fire Safety Seriously continued...

    Have smoke alarms that work. From 2007-2011, 23% of fire related-deaths were caused by fires in properties where smoke alarms failed to operate, according to a 2014 report by the National Fire Protection Association. The most common reasons: missing, dead, or disconnected batteries.

    Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in or near each bedroom. If possible, get some of each kind of smoke alarm -- photoelectric and ionization -- or buy combination alarms that have both types of sensors. Equally important, test alarms monthly and replace batteries every six months to a year.

    Be careful when cooking. Stay near the stove, especially when frying. Use back burners. Roll up your sleeves (never cook with long, loose sleeves) and use oven mitts. Don’t let kids play near the stove or help you cook at the stove. Slide a lid over the flame to put out small stove fires.

    Don’t neglect maintenance. Have the wiring in your home checked by a professional electrician at least once every 10 years. Chimneys, fireplaces, furnaces, and wood and coal stoves should be checked once a year and cleaned, when necessary.

    Use common sense. Although it may seem like a no-brainer to store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet or at least well out of reach of children, many children are badly burned each year from playing with them. Other simple, commonsense tips: Cover electric outlets within children’s reach, get rid of frayed or damaged electrical cords, keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable objects, blow out candles when your leave a room, unplug irons and curling irons when not in use, and put them out of children’s reach.

    Set your hot water heater at 120 degrees F. Water hotter than this can cause burns in two to three seconds.

    Be safe if you smoke. As if there weren’t enough health risks tied to smoking, smoking and smoking-related materials are the main cause of fire-related deaths at home. If you smoke, use fire-safe cigarettes, smoke outside, and douse cigarettes and cigarette butts in water before dumping them in the trash. Better yet, quit.

    Be prepared for a fire. Keep a few fire extinguishers in strategic locations and know how to use them. Consider having a sprinkler system installed if you have a new home. Do a monthly fire drill with your family, practicing how to escape. Teach everyone in the family how to “stop, drop, roll, and cool” if clothes catch fire: Drop immediately to the ground, cross hands over your chest and roll back and forth to put out the flames, and cool the burned area with cool water.