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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.
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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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When it comes to fire safety in high rise buildings, sprinklers trump!

Having just recently visited the Trump Tower in New York City, the headlines of “Fire Controlled in the Chicago Trump Tower” caught my attention. Perusing just the lower floors of the Tower in New York provided a sense of the size and magnitude of these tremendous buildings and what it would take to respond to a fire on an upper floor.  And though evacuation plans and emergency systems may be in place, in the event of a fire, nothing “trumps” fire sprinklers when it comes to protecting lives and property. The recent press release by the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board points out the glaring difference in outcomes of fires that have recently occurred in Chicago high rise buildings that had sprinklers and those that did not.  And while many cities, like Chicago, are trying to catch up to national model codes, in some cases it may not be fast enough. As customers, buyers, and tenants, we must take the responsibility to protect ourselves through education.  It is vital to know the facts about fire sprinklers and also to investigate if they are installed in the places where we choose to live and stay.  Whether it's a long term residence or an overnight stay in a hotel, we have the power to choose the level of life-safety protection that we are willing to accept. Take a moment to read and share the educational resources that NFPA provides on high rise safety, fire sprinklers, and hotel/motel safety!
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