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FIRST ALERT OFFERS FIRE SAFETY TIPS FOR NATIONAL FIRE PREVENTION WEEK

 FIRST ALERT OFFERS FIRE SAFETY TIPS
 FOR NATIONAL FIRE PREVENTION WEEK
 AURORA, Ill., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year fire strikes 700,000 American homes. The results are tragic: 5,500 deaths, property damage estimated at $11.2 billion, and more than 30,000 injuries, according to the United States Fire Administration (USFA). But the real tragedy is that a few simple safety precautions could have dramatically reduced the toll taken by these fires.
 During National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 4 - 10, fire safety experts at First Alert emphasize that the best defenses against fire are prevention and preparation. Preventing fires from starting, knowing how to react during a fire, and practicing an established fire escape plan could save your life and the lives of family members. In fact, the most basic precaution -- having a working smoke detector -- can make a major difference in ensuring a household's safety.
 "Because seconds count in a fire, the 3-4 extra minutes of escape time provided by a smoke detector's warning signal can often be crucial to survival," says Rich Timmons, First Alert's director of marketing. "Installing smoke detectors at every level of your home will ensure the earliest possible warning of a fire and significantly increase your family's chances of escaping safely."
 According to USFA, the chances of dying in a home fire are dramatically cut in half when there is a working smoke detector in the house. USFA also reports that 80 percent of all residential fire deaths and 77 percent of all child fire deaths occur in homes without smoke detectors.
 To help families prevent, prepare for, and survive a fire, First Alert recommends following these important fire safety tips:
 STOP FIRE BEFORE IT STARTS
 -- Don't leave food on the stove unattended when cooking. Turn all burners off immediately after removing food. If grease catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames, then turn off the burner. Don't use water to extinguish a grease fire because water will only cause the flames to spread.
 -- Replace appliance cords that have frayed or exposed wires. If an appliance smokes or smells like it's burning, unplug it immediately and have it repaired.
 -- Never overload electrical outlets or extension cords. Don't run extension cords under rugs.
 -- Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers in your home. Always make sure cigarettes and cigars are completely extinguished -- don't leave them unattended. Never smoke in bed or when drowsy.
 -- Keep space heaters at least three feet from curtains, furniture, clothing, bedding or anything else that can burn. Turn off before leaving home or going to sleep. Never leave children and space heaters unattended.
 -- Store all gas, kerosene and other flammable liquids away from the furnace, stove, water heater and other heat sources.
 -- If fuses blow out regularly or circuit breakers trip, call an electrician to check for wiring problems.
 -- Always store matches and lighters out of reach of children, preferable in a locked cabinet.
 PREPARATION IS THE KEY TO SURVIVAL
 -- Protect your home from fire by creating a fire warning and weapon system. Install smoke detectors to provide early warning of a fire, and place fire extinguishers in accessible, strategic locations throughout the house (i.e., the kitchen) as weapons for fighting small fires.
 -- Place smoke detectors at every level of your home: first floor, second floor, basement and attic (if it's furnished). Install a smoke detector in every sleeping area.
 -- Never try to put out a large fire in your home. You should, however, know how to stop a smaller fire, in trash cans, frying pans, etc., with a fire extinguisher, but only in the fire's first 30 seconds.
 -- Make sure everyone in the house knows how to use a fire extinguisher.
 -- If smoke detectors are battery-powered, test them once a week and change the batteries at least once a year.
 -- Place working flashlights in convenient locations throughout the house to light your way while escaping from a fire.
 -- Plan two escape routes from every room in the house in case one becomes blocked by fire.
 -- Designate an outside family meeting place -- pick a tree, a street light or a neighbor's house. Make sure that all family members know the meeting place and go there immediately after leaving the house.
 -- At least twice a year, hold spontaneous fire drills. Place a surprise "block" at one of the exits, so your family is forced to follow both escape plans.
 TO ESCAPE FROM FIRES
 -- When you hear the smoke detector alarm, roll out of bed onto the floor and crawl to the door. Don't stop to get clothes or valuables.
 -- Touch the door or door knob with the back of your hand. If it feels cool, open the door slightly to check for smoke. If there is no smoke, follow your planned escape route.
 If you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees to the nearest safe exit. Do not stand up. Both smoke and heat are more intense at higher levels. The cleanest, coolest air will be close to the floor.
 Cover your mouth and nose with a wet towel or cloth, if possible, before leaving the room.
 -- If the door is hot to the touch, don't open it. If you are on a low floor or if a fire escape is present, escape through the window.
 -- If you cannot escape through a window, seal cracks around doors and vents as best you can, using wet towels if possible. Open a window at both top and bottom. Stay low by the window to breathe fresh air.
 -- If there's a phone in the room, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you are in the building. If a phone isn't available, hang a piece of bright fabric out the window to show your location.
 If your clothes catch on fire, stop where you are, drop to the ground and roll over and over to put out the flame. Do not run -- running fans the flames. Practice the "stop, drop, and roll" drill with your children.
 For more information on preventing fires or planning your family's fire escape plan, or to have your home checked for possible fire hazards, contact your local fire department.
 Headquartered in Aurora, Ill., First Alert is the world's largest manufacturer of smoke detectors. In addition, the company makes and markets a full line of home safety products including fire extinguishers, rechargeable lights and lanterns, lighting timers and other home security products.
 -0- 9/29/92
 /CONTACT: Rich Timmons of First Alert, 708-851-7330, or Frank Dietrich of Tassani Public Relations, 312-644-2400, for First Alert/ CO: First Alert ST: Illinois IN: HOU SU:


TM-PS -- NYFNS1 -- 4185 09/29/92 07:31 EDT
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