As cooler months approach, it will soon be time for Floridians to take the chill off by turning on the heat in your home, office or business. Since the heat doesn’t get used often, it’s a good idea to have the wiring and furnace inspected to make sure everything is in working order. Businesses and landlords have an obligation to the safety of renters and patrons to reduce the risk of fire-related accidents in Margate, Pembroke Pines, Coral Springs or elsewhere in Florida.
Port St. Lucie injury lawyers know that fires can cause a tremendous about of damage, not to mention severe or fatal injury if a person can’t escape in time. Fatalities caused by fires or burns are the third most common type of fatal home injury.
The Florida Fire Marshal’s Office reports that the daily average for residential fires in Florida is 209. Most fire accident victims die from toxic gases or smoke inhalation, not severe burns. The most common causes of residential fires are related to kitchen fires, faulty wiring, a smoldering cigarette being carelessly left somewhere, children left unsupervised to play with matches or lighter, and leaving a heating unit unattended. A vast majority of Florida residents killed in fires are ages 40 and over. Failing to install or maintain an operative smoke detector is a common occurrence in more than half of the homes that catch on fire.
A Home Fire Safety checklist can help prevent a fire before it starts or detect any hazards that could lead to a fire. Some items that should be checked periodically include:
-Check for frayed or loose wires or cords on appliances or heating units.
-Make sure outlets have surge protectors and are not overloaded with cords.
-If you notice an unusual smell or see a spark, consult a professional immediately.
-Conduct an annual inspection on the furnace or heating unit.
-Never use a light bulb over the maximum wattage instructed by the light or lamp manufacturer.
-Always keep the fireplace covered with a screen, even after you think the fire has died out. Ashes and embers smolder much longer than you may think, and can cause a rug or carpet to ignite rather quickly.
Most fires can be prevented by placing a smoke detector with operable batteries on each level of the home, office or business. Also having a fire escape route can reduce the amount of smoke inhalation or burn injuries a person can incur if he or she exits the building quickly. Sprinkler systems are a good investment for homeowners, apartment buildings or businesses because they can often detect and expedite putting out a fire before it gets out of hand.
Fire-related accidents can start and spread quickly so being proactive is the best step to take in order to reduce the risk of severe burn injuries or smoke inhalation caused by a fire outbreak. In 2009, approximately 3,200 deaths occurred from accidents involving smoke and flames, which was the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The National Safety Council, Amerex and First Alert are offering tips to prevent fires from starting in the home or office.
Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC represents victims and their families recovering from an accident caused by a fire in Hollywood, Delray Beach, Miramar and all of South Florida. If you want the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney, call for a free consultation at 1-800-561-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Defective Home Appliances Lead to Fire Hazards in Coral Springs with Changing Seasons, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 23, 2011.