AUTHOR: LisaMarie Sinatra

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Focus on outdoor cooking fire safety during National Grilling Month

This month, families will be cooking up lots of great BBQ dishes in honor of National Grilling Month. As I was reading a handful of articles about this "delicious and tasty" month, I came across a pres release from Business Wire titled, "Acosta Unveils 2016 Grilling Insights in Honor of National Grilling Month."​​ Acosta is a sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, and in honor of National Grilling Month, the company has released new research about the grilling habits and preferences of U.S. shoppers. For instance, the study indicates that grilling goes beyond traditional summer barbecues, with 61 percent of respondents saying they venture outside the home and grill at places such as the beach, parks, ballgames and more. Here are some other interesting statistics: * Seven in 10 shopper respondents plan to grill for Labor Day * Sixty-nine percent of respondents grill eight or more months of the year * Of the 61 percent of grillers who tailgate, 29 percent tailgate grill at a sports stadium or arena, while 40 percent grill at home for sporting events Still, with all of this outdoor cooking activity amidst drought conditions, hot and humid weather, it's really important to keep fire safety in mind. NFPA has taken the guesswork out of grilling safely on the road by providing steps to help reduce your risk for injuries via a free and easily downloadable tips sheet. We also break down the steps of portable grilling fire safety from how to choose what site is safe for grilling and campfires to what to do with the charcoal ashes post party. So what are you waiting for? If you're one of the hundreds of people who will be firing up the portable grill on the road this summer season, you won't want to miss these great safety tips. Got any great recipes you want to share? Let us know and we'll be sure to try them out. Safe grilling everyone!
Pet Fire Safety Day

Celebrate our furry friends by keeping them safe from harm on National Pet Fire Safety Day

With the tagline, “Ever Wonder What Your Pets Do When You're Not at Home?”, the newest animated film from Universal Studios comes to theaters at a perfect time to highlight National Pet Fire Safety Day on July 15. Back in 2009, The American Kennel Club together with ADT Security Services established National Pet Fire Safety Day to raise awareness among pet owners of the fire hazards their cat, dog or other animal could pose at home, with the hope that many of these fires can be prevented. According to reports, many fires are caused by pets, especially when are left alone in the house. NFPA's latest numbers show that local fire departments responded to an average of 700 home structure fires per year in which animals, including pets and wild animals, contributed to the fire's start. A few of the causes include: Pets bumping into, turning on or knocking over cooking equipment, lamps, candles or space heaters Birds, rodents or other animals building nests in chimneys,  or in or on top of equipment Animals chewing on cords or wiring As pet owners, we can take steps to help prevent fires and plan for unexpected emergencies. Important actions to consider are: Keeping pets (who are naturally curious!) away from stoves and countertops where they can knock over, bump into or turn on cooking equipment Using battery-operated, flameless candles that look just as nice as real candles but won't catch fire if knocked over Making sure pets stay away from lamps, spaceheaters and other heat-producing appliances Keeping an eye on your pets to make sure they don't chew through electrical cords; inspecting cords regularly and calling a professional if you notice a problem It's also important to know that in the event of a fire, you should never go back inside for your pets. Instead, tell firefighters that you have a pet trapped inside. They are better equipped and trained to handle these emergency situations. And what if you live in the wildland/urban interface where forest and wildland fires are more prevalent? And your pets include other animals like horses and cows? Then you know that in the event of a wildfire you may have to quickly evacuate. Planning ahead, like including pets in your family's evacuation plan and creating their own pet evacuation kit is key to helping you stay calm and organized during a stressful time. Not sure where to start? You can find a number of resources including videos, tips sheets and toolkits at www.nfpa.org/takeaction. So if you're a pet owner with a cat or dog or other animal that lives in the house with you, or you have animals that live on your farm, let today, July 15, be the day that moves you to action and motivates you to create and practice a plan that keeps every member of your family safer from fire.
Electrical Safety

ESFI reinforces proper use of extension cords to reduce risk of electrical fires

At home or at work, all of us at one time or another have used extension cords to power up a lamp or TV, computers, our electronics and other gadgets. But did you know that if you use these cords the wrong way, you could start a fire? Yes, in fact, roughly 3,000 home fires start in extension cords each year, so it's important to keep safety in mind when using them. All through the month of May, Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is promoting National Electrical Safety Month with tips, tools and resources to help raise awareness of electrical safety. This week we're highlighting ESFI's extension cord safety infographic, which provides important steps you can take to help you and your family reduce the risk for damage or injury when using extension cords throughout your house. Download it for free and share with family and friends. Think you've got safety under control? Take a look at an extension cord you may have in your living room, kitchen or bedroom. If it looks like a spider web with multiple cords protruding out of it, It means you have too few outlets in the room for your needs. Solution? You'll want to consult a licensed electrician and consider having additional outlets installed in the room and throughout the house. This is just one of the many safety tips you can get from ESFI. Review the infographic to get more resources that will point you in the right direction. You can also get great information on NFPA's electrical safety webpage including a downloadable tips sheet and video.
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9 signs you're a holiday decorating disaster ...

Your cat lets you know he's delighted you've finally bought some great toys! Keep pets and children at least three feet away from burning candles and electrical cords to prevent burns and electrical fires. That ever-growing pile of fallen pine needles on the living room floor is receiving more comments than the decorations for your Christmas tree. A dry tree in your home is a fire danger. Think of it as a huge pile of kindling in your home. Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. You've spent more time trying to free yourself out of the tangled lights than actually decorating the tree. Check the manufacturer's instructions to find out how many lights can be connected to prevent electric shock and fire. You know it's bad to put flammable material near a fire, but you can't help yourself. These stockings just look so darn cute and festive! Keep anything that can burn away from a heat source, despite how awesome it looks. Flameless candles are also a great alternative to real ones when decorating. Your house is a holiday tourist attraction and you couldn't be prouder. An overloaded electrical outlet is a major fire hazard. Plug strings of lights directly into the wall and keep the number to a minimum. Some of the bulbs on your string of lights have already taken time off for the holidays. Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. These can easily start a fire. You've remembered to keep yourself well hydrated, but the same can't be said for your Christmas tree. Always keep water in the tree stand. Check daily and add water as needed. Dried-out trees are a major fire hazard. You're convinced those strings of Christmas lights make the perfect hat to complement your holiday outfit. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both. And most certainly, not for your head. You've been a bit lazy about taking down your Christmas tree so you got creative and came up with a new tradition: a Valentine's Day tree! Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Let's face it, the holidays are never perfect, no matter how they're portrayed in magazines and on television. But by following a few simple practices and precautions, you can create a perfectly fire-safe holiday for you and your loved ones! And remember, have working smoke alarms in your home and create a home escape plan. Practice it with your family so everyone knows what to do if a fire does occur. Happy Holidays from NFPA!
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9 Signs You're a Holiday Decorating Disaster...

Your cat lets you know he's delighted you've finally bought some great toys! Keep pets and children at least three feet away from burning candles and electrical cords to prevent burns and electrical fires. That ever-growing pile of fallen pine needles on the living room floor is receiving more comments than the decorations for your Christmas tree. A dry tree in your home is a fire danger. Think of it as a huge pile of kindling in your home. Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. You've spent more time trying to free yourself out of the tangled lights than actually decorating the tree. Check the manufacturer's instructions to find out how many lights can be connected to prevent electric shock and fire. You know it's bad to put flammable material near a fire, but you can't help yourself. These stockings just look so darn cute and festive! Keep anything that can burn away from a heat source, despite how awesome it looks. Flameless candles are also a great alternative to real ones when decorating. Your house is a holiday tourist attraction and you couldn't be prouder. An overloaded electrical outlet is a major fire hazard. Plug strings of lights directly into the wall and keep the number to a minimum. Some of the bulbs on your string of lights have already taken time off for the holidays. Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. These can easily start a fire. You've remembered to keep yourself well hydrated, but the same can't be said for your Christmas tree. Always keep water in the tree stand. Check daily and add water as needed. Dried-out trees are a major fire hazard. You're convinced those strings of Christmas lights make the perfect hat to complement your holiday outfit. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both. And most certainly, not for your head. You've been a bit lazy about taking down your Christmas tree so you got creative and came up with a new tradition: a Valentine's Day tree! Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Let's face it, the holidays are never perfect, no matter how they're portrayed in magazines and on television. But by following a few simple practices and precautions, you can create a perfectly fire-safe holiday for you and your loved ones! And remember, have working smoke alarms in your home and create a home escape plan. Practice it with your family so everyone knows what to do if a fire does occur. Happy Holidays from NFPA!
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February, the month of love ... and kitchen safety!

I came across a great little article today in the Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser (out of England) called "Make sure you guard against fire this Valentine's Day." It caught my eye because of its focus on kitchen fire safety in the month of February. So, okay, maybe we don't celebrate Pancake Day or National Chip Week here in the States this month, but we do celebrate Valentine's Day which beckons plenty of bakers and would-be home chefs to take a stab at putting together creative and tasteful dishes for the ones they love.  According to the article, the Brits love their fish and chips so it stands to reason that during National Chip Week (February 16 - 22 for those who want to partake), the risk of a cooking fire accident increases because of the many hot, oily pans used. Well, the same can be said for those of us doing a bit of frying here in our own homes. Let's face it, cooking with hot oil can be dangerous any time, anywhere, if you don't follow a few important rules: Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop. Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot. Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing. Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter. Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time.  So no matter what kitchen you find yourself in this month, and especially on Valentine's Day, if you plan on creating a meal that includes hot oil, please play it safe and focus on the task at hand (ahem, cooking!). Save the gifts and kisses for after the dishes are done! Happy Valentine's Day everyone! For more information about cooking fire safety, check out NFPA's Cooking Fire Safety Central webpage today.
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