Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fifteen Fire Safety Tips in Honor of Three Children that Died in House Fire

On February 23, 2012 a house fire claimed the lives of three children in Verona, NC.  Several other children and their mother were able to escape the burning home.  However, they all must live with a deep void in their lives.  When I heard this tragic story on the Saturday morning news as I channel surfed, looking for an appropriate children’s cartoon for a two year old to watch, I felt compelled to write a blog post paying tribute to their lives.  It is hard to make sense of why something like happens, but it serves as a reminder that life is a fragile gift that should be cherished and respected.  It also serves as a reminder that we should, at all times, practice fire safety.  No one ever thinks that something like this could happen to them but if a fire broke out in your home in the still of the night, while you were fast asleep, would your home be equipped and would everyone in your home know what to do?

As a tribute to Tabitha Pittman, 12, and two younger brothers, Elijah, 9, and Gabriel, 7, who died in the above mentioned fire I am going to list some valuable tips that we all can apply to protect the ones we love.

  •      1.  Have both photo-electric and ionization smoke detectors in the home.  Photo-electric sensors alarm when the photo cell fills with smoke and ionization smokes alarm when there is a dramatic rise in heat temperature as well as when filled with smoke.  The photo cell detectors engage quicker giving more time for escape.
  • 2.       Check your smoke detector batteries regularly.
  • 3.       Have a home fire escape plan and make sure you fire drill regularly.
  • 4.       Have a common meeting place
  • 5.       Have fire escape ladders for the second floor.
  • 6.       Keep fire extinguishers on every level of the home.
  • 7.       Make sure that every one knows to duck walk out of the home to prevent inhaling toxic fumes.  The safest air is in the middle.  Do not crawl out as some heavy gases from resins in carpet are at the lowest level.
  • 8.       Never run back into a burning home-wait for the fire department.
  • 9.       Having double keyed locks on doors obstructs potential escape.  Only have single keyed locks.
  • 10.     Have monitored smoke sensors installed in the home.  They will call the fire department so you  won’t have to.
  • 11.   Clean below the stove eyes to remove grease and other build up that could cause a fire
  • 12      Have your dryer hoses cleaned to prevent a laundry room fire.
  • . 13   Make sure no door or hallways have obstructions that could block escape.
  • 14  Unplug appliances that are not in use
  • 15.   Never smoke in bed or while sleepy sitting on a couch or chair.

I encourage everyone to practice these fifteen tips in honor of the young lives that were taken from the world.  Past this post on and encourage your friends family and relatives to practice

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Danger of Improperly Maintained Dryer Vents

Most people rarely think about their dryer vents, but alarmingly over 15,000 house fires occur each year in the United States as a result of improperly maintained dryer vents.  These fires result in approximately 10 deaths, 310 injuries and 96 million dollars in property damage.  In order to keep your family and yourself safe it is important to make sure that the dryer vents and hoses are not clogged.  I have counseled clients for years that this should be done every three months depending on how often they use the dryer.  I know that with busy lives, that this one small item added to an already overcrowded to do list will go unheeded.  So, what can be done?

  • 1.      Never leave clothes drying in the dryer unattended or while you are sleep
  • 2.      Have a monitored smoke and heat sensor installed in the laundry area
  • 3.      Have Ductz install a vent clog monitor that will give you visual and audible alerts when the vent reaches 20% or more obstruction. 
  • 4.      Have an ABC fire extinguisher in the laundry room.

Some advanced warning signs that your dryer vent may be obstructed:

1.      Laundry takes a long time to dry especially  jeans  and towels
2.      Laundry is hotter than usual at the end of the drying cycle
3.      Flapper on vent hood doesn’t open when dryer is on

Keeping your family safe is imperative and taking some simple steps can help to assure their safety.  If you recognize any of the advanced warning signs call Ductz at 877-DUCTZ-USA or 919-942-4900 and to install monitored fire sensors call 919-949-9690 or schedule an appointment at