Although most try to be careful when using appliances that are apparent potential fire hazards, range peaks, irons-a surprising number of home fires are caused by improper devices of all kinds.
According to research reported in Consumer Reports, there are millions of dishwashers, refrigerators and more on recall lists. Surprisingly, more than 15 million devices have been recalled in the last five years for flaws that could cause fire. From 2002 to 2009, the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) identified a defective device as the main cause of more than 69,000 fires. Of these, 23% are clearly related to mechanical, electrical or design problems in household objects.
Here are eight great ways to protect yourself and your home from device fires:
Install fire detection equipment: Nearly 2/3 of the homes death occurs at home without a smoke alarm. You should have one on every level in your home.
Register new appliances: Fill out the registration card that accompanies your purchase and send it to the company, or fill in the registration on the companys website. This will ensure that you are notified for revocation.
Check for recalls: Go to recalls.gov to find out about recalls. If you move to a place with existing devices, check for their brand and model on the list.
Check regular wires: Search for cable wires and replace them. Never drive power cords under carpets or furniture that may cause damage, including overheating.
Check the cables at your home: If a qualified electrician has examined the cables and get professional advice on what needs to be corrected and how. An upgrade can be expensive, but it can save family life.
Practice kitchen safety: Never leave cooking unattended! If there are young children at home, make a childless zone at least 3 meters from the stove and use a baking burner if possible. Always disconnect small appliances (even coffee makers) when not in use.
Suspended hoods: Fat build-up in the hood is a common fire hazard, so be sure to clean the ventings regularly.
Keep the tumble dryers clear: Ribbon fires are another common cause of house fires. Clean your dirt screen after each use. Use rigid metal wipers instead of flexible (foil or plastic) that can slow and trap lint. Check them regularly for ribbon building.
New protective measures are now in place
Since the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launch of its Consumer Reports Website in March 2011 (http://www.saferproducts.gov), more than 850 consumer-generated reports of device fires have been published. The majority of device safety standards are voluntary, but if the CPSC considers these measures to be insufficient, it may work to set tougher standards. If compliance becomes a problem, even stronger measures can be assumed. CPSC has the power to work with companies with reminders, but its power is limited and does not extend, for example, to setting safety standards for certain imported products.
Consumers must be involved
With 130 million households in this country filled with multiple devices, Consumer Reports analysis of 15 million devices represents only a fraction of whats really happening. As a consumer, you must protect yourself. In a consumer survey in 2010, a majority of people considered that they were never or rarely sent in product registration cards. And almost a third of the people who owned a recalled product took no action at all! The CPSC website, by sending real consumer experiences, provides lively details about what people experience.
In recent years, manufacturers have made significant improvements to improve product safety. For example, automatic shutdown on coffee maker and anti-jamming mechanics on toasters. Such features are built-in to avoid damage to both the device and the users. However, consumers participation can make the difference between safety and danger when people come public to report their complaints, where they will be heard and heard by appropriate authorities, manufacturing companies and other consumers. Also, consider installing an automatic security system that will alert you to a fire even when youre away from home.