Fire Prevention from the Housewife’s Standpoint*
BY REQUEST of the Secretary of the Dominion Association of Fire Chiefs to prepare a paperon Fire Prevention from the Housewife’s Standpoint, I will endeavor to draw your attention to the following remarks and suggestions:
The housewife has it in her power to reduce the fire loss considerably. Nothing is worse than a careless housekeeper in causing or promoting fires, which not only destroy property, but very often cause loss of life. What is the first care of every housewife? To look to the safety of her children. What is the best way to safeguard her children? By being careful of fires. We have all seen carelessness in the homes; not even are our fire chiefs exempt, and sometimes are to blame.
This is a question that all serious minded men and women should face squarely and should undertake to reduce fires in homes. I can not do any better than to draw the housewife’s attention to the following suggestions taken from suggestions thrown out by the program of the Women’s Club of North America:
Don’t allow children to play with matches.
Don’t throw away lighted matches.
Don’t go into dark closets, bedrooms or cellars, using matches or candles to light your way.
* From a paper read before the annual convention of the Dominion Association of Fire Chiefs.
Don’t us kerosent or gasoline in lighting fires or to quicken a slow fire; it may result in death.
Don’t use gasoline or benzine or clean clothing near an open flame, light or fire.
Don’t fill any lamp or stove with gasoline, or coal oil while they are lighted. Keep the burners of all lamps and stoves thoroughly clean. Fill them during the day time.
Don’t put ashes in wooden boxes or barrels. Keep ashes away from boards. Hot ashes will take fire by themselves, as frequently they have small bits of coal mixed in with them.
Don’t accumulate rubbish in premises, cellars or workshops, and don’t deposit such materials in boxes or barrels unless it is to be removed at once; while awaiting removal, keep such material in covered metal receptacles.
Don’t use candles in Christmas trees.
Don’t keep matches in anything but a closed metal receptacle. Use safety matches.
Don’t have storage closets under stairways. Fires in these places cut off your main exit.
Don’t store oils, paints, grease or fats in the house. Keep them outside if possible. If you must have such things on hand, put them in a metal box with a lid on it.
Don’t put in the ash barrel such articles as greasy paper, oily rags or waste, which has been used to wipe machinery. Such articles cause many fires. Burn these things immediately after use.
Don’t neglect to have the chimney flue cleaned once a year.
Don’t have lace curtains in vicinity of gas jets.
Don’t leave holes in the flooring, wall or ceiling. These enable fires to travel throughout the buliding when once started.
Don’t use celluloid or similar substances near any flame, gaslight or match. They are dangerously inflammable and likely to cause fatal fires.
Don’t have short gas brackets or place them close to woodwork or near curtains. Every gas jet should be protected by a glass globe or wire cage. Swinging or folding brackets are never safe.
Don’t pour gasoline or naptha down the drain. Pour it on the ground if you must get rid of it. One pint of gasoline, naphtha or benzine makes two hundred feet of explosive vapor. One gallons of gasoline has substantially the power equal to 88 2-3 lbs. of dynamite.
Don’t set kitchen or heating stoves close to woodwork. Put a metal shield behind the stove. Leave a little air space behind the shield. Bright tin is the best protector if not placed right up against the woodwork.
Don’t use small gas stoves on wooden tables. Place metal protector under them. Be careful in using gas stoves, especially in lighting the oven, and, if the meat or grease take fire, shut off the gas and throw salt, not water, on the flames.
Don’t look for a gas leak with a lighted match or candle. You might suddenly find it—to your sorrow.
Don’t leave doors of heaters or kitchen stoves open unless you provide a wire screen or net to catch live coals which may drop out.
Don’t fail to warn children of the dangerous bonfire.
In conclusion, I agree with the powers that be in having a clean-up day, but, let us have a clean-up day every day, and clean-up and keep clean, for when you have a clean house the danger from fire is reduced considerably and the danger from sickness is also reduced. Let us all get together and work to reduce the awful life and property loss in our fair land.