Valentine’s Day is a day of romance and it’s not unusual for couples to dim the lights and rely on candles and fire instead. Unfortunately, candles, cooking a romantic meal, and lounging by the fireplace also increases fire risk.
According to the NFPA, candles cause 2% of fires and 3% of deaths. Most problems occur in the bedroom where people either fall asleep with candles burning or they burn candles too close to combustible materials.
Never leave candles burning unattended and use sturdy candle holders to prevent them from toppling.
Cooking Top Fire Risk
When preparing a special Valentine’s Day meal, it is important you focus on the task. Cooking is the leading cause of house fires, and a third of these fires start due to unattended food on the stovetop or in the oven.
Practice Fireplace Safety
If you’re planning on snuggling up by a fire with that special person on Valentine’s Day, it is important you practice fireplace safely. Annual chimney cleanings and inspections reduce risk.
Burn a small amount of dry, seasoned wood, but resist the temptation of a roaring blaze. Too much heat can damage the chimney and ignite any creosote or tar in the chimney. Use a fireplace screen to contain sparks and have fire extinguishers in your home.
Buy a Class ABC Extinguisher
The National Fire Protection Association recommends a fire extinguisher on each floor of your home. Extinguishers with metal valves cost more, but they’re rechargeable. Those with plastic valves are for single use.
Experts recommend a fire extinguisher classified ABC for household use. They use dry chemicals and work well on the three common household fire types:
- Class A: Wood, paper, cloth, plastics, rubber
- Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, and paint
- Class C: Electrical equipment such as appliances and outlets
Choose an extinguisher that’s easy to handle. A 5 pound extinguisher suits areas where you need a swift response, such as the kitchen. A 10 pound might be more suitable for an area such as a garage where the fire might grow quickly due to stored materials.
Maintain home fire extinguishers too. They may lose pressure, so check the pressure gauge regularly so they’re always ready to use. If you use them you must recharge or replace them.
Learn to Use Your Fire Extinguisher
A fire extinguisher is only helpful if you know how to use it and use it properly. Call for help before you try to extinguish a fire. Evacuate family members using your evacuation plan. A fire can grow beyond your control and the fire department should inspect your home to ensure you’ve extinguished all sparks.
Stand at least 8 feet from the fire with your back towards an exit in case you need to flee. If the fire does not go out after using the PASS method, leave your home:
- Pull the pin – this unlocks the handle
- Aim low – aim the hose or nozzle at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the lever or button – this discharges the chemicals
- Sweep from side to side – use a sweeping motion at the base of the fire. Repeat until extinguished.