BJL was recently approached with a request to promote fire safety awareness within our community. This call to action was prompted by an incident in another Orthodox Jewish community, where a couple endured a major inconvenience due to a fire. This incident highlights the importance of preventative fire safety measures. Had such procedures been in place, the disruption and damages could have been largely mitigated. In response to this request and in our ongoing commitment to community safety, we're sharing seven key measures to ensure your home is fire-safe:

Baltimore, MD - May 28, 2023 - Fire safety is of paramount importance in our quest to make our homes safe and secure. Knowing how to prevent and control fires is crucial. Here are eight key measures to ensure your home is fire-safe:

Choosing the Right Fire Extinguisher: An essential tool for every home is a fire extinguisher. It's recommended to have a multipurpose extinguisher, typically labeled as A-B-C, which can be used for ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, and electrical equipment. The size should ideally be a medium one (2.5 - 5 lbs), portable and easy to handle during an emergency. Moreover, it's recommended to have one extinguisher available in the kitchen area, a second in the basement or laundry area, and if you have a garage, a third one should be placed there.

Installation of Smoke and CO Alarms: A major safety concern that needs to be addressed is the installation of smoke and CO alarms. You need to have at least one per floor and one outside of each sleeping area. If you have a central hall with all your bedrooms, one may be sufficient; otherwise, more may be needed.

Dealing with Different Types of Fires: In the event of a fire, your immediate response can make all the difference:

  • Oven Fire: Turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed to suffocate the fire. Do not throw water or use a fire extinguisher as they can spread the fire.
  • Electrical Fire: Unplug the device if it's safe to do so. Use a Class C fire extinguisher, which is specifically for electrical fires. Never use water on electrical fires.
  • Oil Fire: Turn off the heat source and cover the pot with a metal lid or cookie sheet. Never use water to extinguish an oil fire, as it can cause the fire to spread.
  • Paper Fire: Smother the fire with a non-flammable item, or douse it with water if possible. An ABC fire extinguisher can also be used.
  • House Fire: Call your local fire department immediately. Ensure everyone in the house evacuates safely and stays out until it's safe to return.
  • Proper Placement and Lighting of Candles: Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything flammable. Always use a stable, heat-resistant candle holder and never leave a lit candle unattended.

    Monitor Extension Cords and Appliances: Regularly check extension cords when using them with appliances. If they become hot to the touch, unplug them immediately to prevent overheating and potential fire. Also, ensure all your appliances, especially those providing heat, carry a safety certification from recognized agencies such as UL, ETL, or CE.

    Maintenance of Dryer Vents: Dryer vents need to be cleaned at least once a year as they are the leading cause of residential fires. The National Fire Protection Association reports that approximately 3,000 dryers catch fire each year, causing an estimated $238 million in property damage annually. About one-third of these fires result from failing to clean clothes dryers, leading to clogged dryer vents.

    Label Your Circuit Breakers or Fuses: In an emergency, being able to quickly shut off the correct circuit can be a lifesaver. Make sure each circuit breaker or fuse is clearly labeled according to the rooms or appliances it serves. 

    Lithium-ion batteries:  Be very vigilant when charging lithium-ion batteries used in hover boards and scooters.  Check frequently to make sure there is no overheating.  If at all possible, charge outside.

    By implementing these fire safety measures, you are taking significant steps towards protecting your home and loved ones from the devastating impact of a fire. Remember, the key to fire safety is prevention,