More people die in home fires than in any other location. The Fire Department offers the following tips for helping make your home fire safe:
Install and maintain smoke detectors on every level of your home.
Develop and practice a fire escape plan.
Check all chairs, sofas, cushions, etc. for smoldering ashes after anyone has been smoking in your home.
Never store gasoline or propane inside your home.
Never smoke in bed, or when drowsy.
Have furnaces and fireplaces serviced at least once a year.
Make sure that candles are never left unattended, trim the wicks regularly, and never place them where the flame may come in contact with drapes or other combustible items.
According to the Villa Park Fire Investigation Unit, over the past year, fire investigators have determined the cause of several house fires to be directly related to faulty appliance gas connectors. These are corrugated metal tubes used to connect gas appliances, such as; dryers, cooking tops, and oven ranges, to your home's gas supply.
In the mid 90's the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning for homeowners to replace uncoated brass connectors that are known to fail. Manufacturers stopped making uncoated brass gas connectors in the mid 80's. The CPSC believes a solder joint in the uncoated brass type connector can fail causing a dangerous gas leak.
It is advised that if homeowners have gas appliances, generally older than 20 years old, they have the connectors inspected by a qualified appliance repair professional, plumber, or heating and cooling contractor. Old uncoated brass connectors should be replaced by a professional with stainless steal, coated stainless steal, or modern coated brass connectors.
Homeowners should not attempt to move an appliance to inspect the connector themselves. Moving an appliance, even slightly, can cause the connector to fail resulting in a gas leak that can cause a serious fire, or even an explosion.
In the event you smell a strong, persistent odor of natural gas, or hear gas leaking, leave your home immediately leaving the door open. Leave windows open, but do not attempt to open additional windows. Do not use the phone or other appliances, light matches, or turn light switches on or off. From a neighbor's house call 911 and contact Nicor at 1-888-NICOR4U (642-6748.) Do not reenter the house until emergency personnel advise it is safe.