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Fire hazards: A room by room guide to preventing your family home from a fire

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MILWAUKEE -- Spring is in the air -- which means many people are about to do some spring cleaning. And as you clear things out, it's a good time to make sure you've eliminated common fire hazards from your home. Katie Horrigan with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin joins Real Milwaukee with a room by room checklist.

Home fires account for nearly 85 percent of fire-related deaths, so it`s important to be diligent about fire safety in your home. And sadly, every day, at least one child dies in a home fire. With spring cleaning, as you go room by room, go through this checklist together as a family to make sure everyone knows and understands how to keep your home safe from fire hazards.

Couch/Fire scene: Overall home/living areas:

Working smoke alarms reduce the chance of dying in a home fire by half.

  • Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home.
  • Put smoke alarms in or near rooms where people sleep.
  • Test smoke alarms each month. Change batteries once a year or sooner if the alarm chirps.
  • Practice with your kids. Teach them what to do if they hear the smoke alarms go off at home.

Additional fire prevention tips for living areas:

  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually if you plan to use it.
  • Maintain a 3-foot safety zone around the fireplace, and use a fire-proof screen in front of your fireplace.
  • Keep lamps and candles away from drapes and fabrics.
  • NEVER leave lit candles unattended. Always blow them out before going to sleep.

The kitchen is the number one room in the home where fires start.

  • Maintain a 3-foot, kid-free safety zone around the stove when you’re cooking.
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen and make sure everyone knows

how to use it.

  • Always turn pot handles toward the center of the stove to prevent bumping.
  • Keep paper towels, dishtowels and other flammables far away from the stove.
  • Never leave cooking food unattended on the stovetop or under the broiler.
  • Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach.

Other things to talk about as a family so everyone knows how to stay safe:

  • Never drape scarves or clothing over lamps and space heaters, and place them at least three feet away from bedding, furniture and other flammable items.
  • Keep extension cords out from under rugs, and be sure electrical cords are not pinched by doors, cabinets or under furniture.
  • Don’t overload outlets with too many appliances
  • Keep curling irons and hair dryers away from flammable materials.
  • Clean your dryer’s lint filter before each use.
  • Practice a family fire escape plan at least twice each year. Be sure there are 2 ways out of every room in your home.