It’s that time of the year when finding the right gift for someone special can be agonizing. This year, consider giving a gift that says you care about their personal safety; a gift that could save their life.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), last year, there were an estimated 381,000 residential fires, that’s a home fire every 85 seconds, and a slight increase from last year’s statistics. These fires resulted in 2,380 deaths. In an effort to reduce the overall fire death toll, Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue in conjunction with NFPA suggest the following gifts that could save you and your loved one’s life:
· Smoke alarms provide an early warning and cut the chance of dying in a fire, nearly in half.
o Approximately 96% of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm.
o Approximately 75% of U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.
o Approximately 20% of U.S. homes have no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
o More than 50% of reported home fires in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate were due to dead, missing, or disconnected batteries.
§ Replace batteries when you change your clock, spring and fall.
o Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
o Smoke alarms for the deaf or hard of hearing
§ These alarms include strobe lights, high decibels and/or vibration.
· Sturdy candleholders
o Use lantern-style candle holders to prevent tip-over when candles are lit and to reduce the risk of items coming in contact with the open flame.
· Sturdy fireplace screen that will keep embers out of the room.
· Gift certificates for clean-up services
o Removal of fire-prone clutter from areas that could give fires a place to start such as the basement, attic or yard.
o Chimney sweeps to reduce creosote build-up that can easily ignite.
· Warm nightwear or bedding
o Choose down, synthetic comforters, flannel sheets or flannel pajamas for keeping warm; reduces the need for using stationary or portable space heaters particularly at night when temperatures become cooler.
§ *Stationary and portable space heaters including wood stoves account for:
· 32% of home heating fires.
· 80% of home heating fire deaths.
*excludes fireplaces, chimneys, and chimney connectors
§ NFPA recommends turning space heaters off when going to sleep.
· Nightwear or bathrobes with tight-fitting sleeves prevent sleeves from touching stove burners.
· Large, deep, non-tip/sturdy ashtrays prevent smoking materials from igniting upholstered furniture, bedding or other nearby combustibles.
· Portable fire extinguisher
o Choose one that provides clear instruction on how to use; recipients should understand and learn the rules of safe extinguisher usage before a fire occurs.
· Fireproof oven mitts provide protection when handling cookware for the oven, stove, barbeque grill or other cooking equipment.
· Large house numbers enable firefighters to quickly locate the home, especially during the night, should an emergency occur.
· Carbon monoxide alarms
o Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the silent killer due to its colorless and odorless gas; fuels such as natural gas, oil and wood that burn incomplete create a gas/carbon monoxide.
o Carbon monoxide alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing
§ These alarms include strobe lights, high decibels and/or vibration (see smoke alarm information above for further details).
o Download fire safety information to include home escape plans and grids; this information can be obtained from NFPA’s website.
o Batteries for smoke alarms and flashlights.
o Flashlights instead of candles for use as emergency lighting.
Other great gift ideas
· Fluorescent, incandescent or LED lanterns for emergency lighting.
· Escape ladder for individuals residing in second or third story homes.
o Check for a recognized testing laboratory prior to purchasing.
· Emergency preparedness kit
o Visit www.ready.gov to find out what you will need to create a kit.
· First aid kit and a first aid textbook.