In addition to keeping microwaves from being plugged into extension cords, there are other safety precautions which should be taken. Bartolome explained, “Using temporary wirings, such as extension cords or power strips as permanent wiring is unsafe.” This advice may prove particularly important to BYU–Hawaii students who may rely on such wiring to power their devices.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission website explains that extension cords are dangerous because they have a high potential of overheating or becoming damaged, which both pose high risks for fires.
Bartolome said people should be particularly wary of appliances that produce heat. He gave a few examples, such as a microwave, coffee maker, toaster oven, Instapot or slow cooker, advising that these appliances should also be plugged into a direct outlet.
Obviously, he said this advice also applies to bigger everyday appliances such as the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher or air conditioning.
The Community Relations Office and Codes Enforcement section of the Honolulu Fire Department are involved in doing fire safety checks. He said dangerous scenarios, such as those described above, are typically what they come across when performing these checks.
The photo to the left is an example of an extension cord and a power strip. Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.
When grilling, NFPA advises people to use the grill far away from the home or tree branches, to keep the grill clean, only light the grill once the gas grill lid is open and to keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill at all times.
In addition, the website says extension cords should be used for outdoor charcoal grills.
For propane grills, NFPA advises grillers to be sure to check for leaks by applying soap and water to the hose; if bubbles appear, the grill should be repaired before use. In addition, if the grill smells like gas, they should “immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.”
Lastly, if the flame on the propane grill goes out, the advice is to turn off the grill and gas and wait at least five minutes before attempting to use it again.
Photo by Danny Gallegos on Unsplash.
Regarding pets, the NFPA website says that although pets give us comfort, friendship and unconditional love, pets and wild animals are responsible for starting about 750 home fires each year.
These fires involve cooking equipment, fireplaces and chimneys, space heaters, lamps, bulbs, wiring and candles.
They advise being sure to keep animals away from cooking equipment, candles, lamps and space heaters. In fact, they also suggest considering flameless candles.
Fireplaces are also a dangerous place for pets. They advise the public to also keep pets at least three feet away from the fireplace and cover it with tempered glass.
Another important piece of advice is to keep an eye on what pets chew up; it could be very dangerous if they chewed through electrical cords.
Lastly, the NFPA recommended pets be included in the family’s “wildfire evacuation plan.” They even suggested to go so far as to “build an evacuation kit for each pet in our household” that can be easily transported.
Heartbreakingly, the website also says people should never go back into a burning building to rescue a pet, they should alert a firefighter instead.
Photo by Anoir Chafik on Unsplash.
When it comes to protecting children, punishing children who misuse fire could actually make the problem worse. Instead, NFPA suggests close supervision, education and being a good example. Ultimately, talking openly with the child and establishing clear rules and consequences about fire safety is the best way to prevent a tragedy from occurring, it explains.
“All children are at risk for using fire unsafely. Many fires happen simply because matches and lighters are left within a child’s reach.”
Photo by Patty Brito on Unsplash.
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