Fire-Prevention Safety Tips for Residences

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When shopping for upholstered furniture, look for the gold UFAC hangtag. Upholstered furniture manufactured according to the voluntary Upholstered Furniture Action Council standard has been constructed to better resist ignition by smoldering cigarettes - which are the leading cause of fires involving furniture in the home.

Here are some other fire safety tips:

  • Keep cigarettes and other smoking materials away from upholstered furniture and bedding. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, smoking materials are the largest contributor to deaths in residential fires. Never smoke in bed. Keep ashtrays off the arms of sofas and chairs. Replace mattresses made prior to the 1973 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard. 
  • Keep lighters and matches out of the sight and reach of children. Sadly, children set over 20,000 house fires every year. Begin early teaching your children that fire is not a toy. Be vigilant in keeping lighters and matches stored where they cannot be seen or accessed by children. 
  • Use caution with candles. Never burn candles near upholstered furniture, window treatments, or other household items that can catch fire. Keep lighted candles away from children and/or pets. Completely extinguish all candles before leaving a room or going to bed. 
  • Use space heaters with caution. Place portable heaters at least three feet away from any furnishings - or anything else that is potentially flammable. 
  • Prevent electrical fires. Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs or upholstered furniture. 
  • Make sure children do not cover over lamps or heaters with blankets, sheets or other flammable materials while playing. 
  • Install and properly maintain smoke detectors. Install a working smoke detector on every level of your home. Maintain them according to the manufacturer's specifications, including testing and replacing batteries. A working smoke alarm can double your chances of survival in a home fire. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends replacing smoke detectors after 10 years of service. 
  • Practice an escape plan. Have an escape plan from every room of your house. Select a location where everyone in the family can meet after escaping.