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Fire Safety in the Bedroom: Tips Facts and Statistics

Despite the fact that the number of deaths related to home fires in the United States has been declining over time, fire-related injuries are still one of the leading causes of accidental death and fatal injury in the country. Many of the home fires that result in these deaths originate in the bedroom, which is unfortunate because the majority of bedroom fires are preventable. Thankfully, anyone can drastically lower their risk of a bedroom fire in their home if they are armed with the right information.

Bedroom Fire Statistics
When the numbers are considered, it is staggering to think how many deaths and injuries result from bedroom fires. A look at some of the statistics related to home and bedroom fires is indeed sobering:
Almost 600 people die each year due to fires that are started in bedrooms.
Children are especially at risk of death from bedroom fires — 400 kids under the age of nine die every year from home fires.
Smoke inhalation is the main way that home fires lead to death, not burns and other injuries.
The most current statistics show that children set over 35,000 fires a year when playing with matches, lighters, and other devices. Much of this play happens in the bedroom.
Fire safety is improving, two hundred fewer young children die from fire-related injuries today than in 1998.
A fire that starts in a home that is prepared for the disaster kill hardly anyone. Devices such as sprinklers and smoke alarms can reduce fire-related deaths by 82 percent.

Bedroom Fire Prevention
The best way to avoid injury or death from a bedroom fire is to make sure that one does not start at the first place. A few common sense precautions are all that it takes to reduce the risk of a bedroom fire.
Space heaters are a chief cause of home bedroom fires. It is better not to use them at all in the bedroom. If that is impossible, blankets, cords, and other objects should be kept far away from the heater.
Smoking in the bedroom should be an absolute no-no. The ash can start a fire long after the smoker has fallen asleep.
Candles should be kept away from anything that can catch fire.
Keep wastebaskets empty of paper trash and do not leave large stacks of paper lying around, since paper is one of the best fuels for a fire.
Lower the risk of an electrical fire and do not plug in too many devices to a single outlet. Frayed or damaged electrical cords should also be replaced, and the cords should never be run under a rug.
Matches, lighters, and other fire-starters need to be placed where children cannot get them. Better yet, they should be stored where kids will not even find them.
Purchase a mattress that meets all current fire safety standards.

In Case of a Bedroom Fire
Even when precautions are taken, the risk of bedroom fires cannot be eliminated completely; therefore, it is helpful to know what should be done in case a fire starts so that the family stays safe.
Keep a fire extinguisher in the hallway or other place where it will be accessible in case of a fire. Small fires can be doused quickly with one of these devices.
Install smoke detectors in each bedroom in order to alert family members in case a fire starts. People who are alerted as soon as a fire starts have a much better chance of surviving a blaze.
Install a home security system that will automatically alert the fire department if the house catches fire.
Have a fire emergency plan. Sit down and map out escape routes in case of a fire. Practice this plan with family members so that no one panics if a fire begins.
Have an alternate escape route from each bedroom. Bedrooms should all have windows that can be climbed through for a quick exit, so family members should never sleep in places where the windows are tiny or nonexistent. Second floor bedrooms can be equipped with a rope or chain ladder, or the person who sleeps in the room should be taught how to tie sheets together to facilitate an escape.
Teach family members to stop, drop, and roll if their clothes catch fire, and make sure that they know to crawl along the floor to escape when a fire occurs.
Do not put furniture or other large objects where they might block a firefighter from entering a room to perform a rescue.

Bedroom fires can be deadly, but they are preventable and escapable. All it takes is a little bit of forethought to keep these fires from starting and to be ready in case all prevention measures fail. Persons who follow these tips will improve their chances of surviving a bedroom fire.

For more information on bedroom fire safety and home fire prevention, please visit the following sites:
Bedroom & Den: Fire Prevention: The Fire Department of the City of New York has many fire safety tips and reminders for the bedroom and den on this site.
Could It Happen to Me?: Some basic fire statistics and prevention tips are available on this page from Lititz Mutual Insurance.
Erwin: Bedroom Fire Safety: Scroll down for a few tips on fire safety in the bedroom.
FEMA: Bedroom Safety: The U.S. Fire Administration offers some tips on avoiding fires in the bedroom on this page.
Fire Deaths and Injuries: Prevention Tips: The Centers for Disease Control offer a few good tips on preventing fires from starting in the home on this page.
Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist: The American Red Cross offers this helpful page with many resources on preventing fires in the home.
Fire Prevention/Safety: Here is an excellent page on home fire safety from Dike Fire Rescue.
Fire Safety and Burns: Many facts about fire safety and burns in the home are found on this page from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Five Simple Ways to Prevent Home Fires: This article from U.S. News and World Report explains five ways to prevent fires at home.
Home Fire Protection: This page with general tips on home fire safety from the Better Business Bureau has many ideas that can be applied to preventing bedroom fires.
Home Fire Statistics: It is incredible how much damage home fires do every year, as the statistics on this page reveal.
Lesson Plans: Home Fire Safety: A good deal of information for kids on home fire safety is found on this page. Scroll down for safety tips related to bedroom fires.
National City: Fire Safety: Scroll down for a pdf on bedroom fire safety and other fire safety tips.
Open Flame-Resistant Mattresses: This is a record of testimony from the vice president of Serta, Inc., on the plausibility of regulations regarding flame-resistant mattresses and bedroom fire safety.
Police Notebook: Home Fire Safety: There is a checklist and other information about home fire safety on this University of Oklahoma webpage.
Prevent Bedroom Fires: Peru, Indiana, has a helpful list of bedroom fire prevention tips for those who visit this link.
Residential Fire Safety Institute: The Residential Fire Safety Institute is an organization dedicated to improving fire safety in the home.
Sleeping Peacefully at Night: This is an excellent page on bedroom fire prevention with other tips on fire risks after a natural disaster.
Sleeping Sound at Night: This page has some older statistics from 1998 on fire safety from FEMA.
Smokey the Bear Bedroom Fire Safety: Here is a good page with tips on bedroom fire safety from a site that distributes Smokey the Bear products.

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