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West Virginia has the second highest death by fire rate of 37.2, after the District of Columbia. The relative risk of dying in a fire in West Virginia is 3.3 while the U.S. general population relative risk is 1.
A house fire is something that can change your life in ways you can’t imagine. They are completely preventable and cause damage through flames, heat, smoke, and water. Anything that didn’t burn will still need to be carefully cleaned to reduce sickness from soot and dirty water left on items.
Top ten fire safety tips from NFPA:
· Watch your cooking. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
· Give space heaters space. Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn.
· Smoke outside. Ask smokers to smoke outside.
· Keep matches and lighters out of reach. Keep matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of children, preferably in a cabinet with a child lock.
· Inspect electrical cords. Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs, or loose connections.
· Be careful when using candles. Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn.
· Have a home fire escape plan. Make a home fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
· Install smoke alarms. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
· Test smoke alarms. Test smoke alarms at least once a month and replace conventional batteries once a year or when the alarm “chirps” to tell you the battery is low.
· Install sprinklers. If you are building or remodeling your home, install residential fire sprinklers.
After a house fire, be sure to take care of yourself and your family. Get help from local disaster relief services. Keep any pets away from the damaged home to prevent them from wandering inside. Don’t enter your home until the fire is completely out and the fire department considers it safe. Be sure to contact your insurance company about what to do next as far as the needs of your home and itemizing all personal items. All personal items that were damaged will need to be replaced such as, driver’s license, insurance policies, military discharge papers, passports, birth, death, and marriage certificates, wills, divorce papers, and plenty of others. Money can be replaced, if more than half is okay from the fire, by mailing it in to the Department of the Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Superintendent U.S. Mint.