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california fire safety | Northern California Personal Injury Blog

Practice Thanksgiving Fire Safety

By Kelly Balamuth on November 22, 2011

This time of year is full of tasty food, and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday always serves as an annual benchmark for festive menus. But with all the time spent preparing meals in the kitchen and the constant flurry of holiday distractions, the risk of household fires increases as well. In 2009, according to data by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the amount of residential kitchen fires on Thanksgiving was three times the daily national medium. For that reason, the NFPA urges every household member to practice fire safety when fixing meals this season.

Burn Risk PreventionData suggests that kitchen fires are the leading cause of residential fires and related personal injury. From 2005 to 2009, fire departments across the United States responded to an approximate average of 155,400 home blazes that involved kitchen apparatuses. Yearly, those fires resulted in an approximated medium of 4,800 injuries, 390 fatalities, and $771 million in property destruction.

To decrease the risk of kitchen fires this year, follow these fire prevention tips as advised by the NFPA:

  • Keep flammable items far away from the stove. These include stove mitts, wooden components, plastic or paper packaging, towels, curtains, clothes, and others.
  • Never leave a hot stove or oven unattended. Always turn off the heat, even if you only intend to leave the kitchen for a small amount of time. Remember: most destructive fires start when a cook only intends to leave the kitchen “for a minute.”
  • Use timers to keep on track of your cooking schedule, and to remind you when something is ready to be removed from the stove or oven.

And if a small grease fire does ignite, turn off the stove or oven immediately and cover with a lid. But if it continues for more than 30 seconds, dial 911 for expert assistance. If you’ve been injured in a Northern California fire that you think was caused by another party’s negligence, call the northern California burn injury attorneys with Balamuth Harrington at 1(888) 254-1234 for a free consultation.

Remembering and Learning From the Bay Area ’91 Firestorm

By Kelly Balamuth on October 28, 2011

Northern California Fire Safety PrecautionsOn the heels of National Fire Prevention Week (October 9 to October 15) comes another reminder of the importance of fire preparedness: the 20th anniversary of the 1991 Berkeley Oakland Hills Firestorm. The monstrous urban wildfire ravaged the area for three days and resulted in 25 fatalities and 3,354 lost homes.

Since that tragic fire two decades ago, state and local municipalities have invested many millions of dollars into heightening fire safety measures. These measures have taken the form of increased emergency response, vegetational management, and community preparations. There have also been large strides in construction and building requirements to which all property owners and builders must adhere.

Some of these updated construction and building requirements include:

  • Ensuring that roofs are at least Class A (protective against major fire exposure); wooden roof components are not allowed.
  • Using spark arrestors when re-roofing or updating with specific types of heating apparatus.
  • Adhering to new rules for safe wall coverings.
  • Using new standards for connecting electricity and power.
  • Taking additional measures if property is located in a region classified as high fire danger; measures may include indoor sprinklers, cautionary systems, streets for emergency access, and more.

As we previously blogged regarding fire prevention week, citizens must remain vigilant and aware to do their part in combating deadly fires and staying safe in the event of one. Preventative safety measures for renters and homeowners include: developing a solid fire escape plan, using proper smoke alarms, practicing safety in the kitchen and beyond, avoiding indoor smoking or open flames. If you’ve been injured by a fire accident in Berkeley or Oakland that you believe was caused by another party’s negligence, contact the Northern California burn injury attorneys with Balamuth Harrington at (888) 254-1234.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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