Fire Prevention Week: Check your home for these fire hazards

WICHITA, Kan. - As the weather cools down, you may be thinking about heating up your house. Storm Team 12 is predicting temperatures in the 30s for some parts of the state, and it could have you reaching for your electric blanket or space heater.

The U.S. Fire Administration says heating equipment is the cause of one in seven house fires and one in five house fire deaths.

This week marks Fire Prevention Week. Rescare homes across south central Kansas are taking extra time this week to recognize fire hazards.

Matthew, John and Doug live in a ResCare home in Sedgwick County. Each month, they practice fire drills.

Michelle Morrell is a lead direct support personnel for ResCare.

"I am here to help guide in any way that I can, but they really do an amazing job and they do help each other quite a bit," Morrell says.

The state mandates the homes perform fire drills, and Morrell makes sure each person has the support they need. Some people living in the home may have difficulty walking or may be on oxygen. They have a plan for several different emergency scenarios.

"I will block a door, I will turn the lights off, just different obstacles. Even something as simple as saying 'you can't get out this direction', then they have to reroute and figure out how to get out," Morrell says.

Matthew, Doug and John make their way to the mailbox; the designated meeting place.

"In an event that something does happen, and you're separated a little bit, everyone knows where to go."

ResCare homes also have features like flashing lights for the hard of hearing and automatic shutting doors to reduce the spread of flames or smoke.

"We just want to be prepared for all potential hazards and the more we practice and prepare, the more we can reduce the risk of any injuries," says Tom Keil, Executive Director of ResCare.

Morrell says the home also follows kitchen safety rules, and cleans the link trap in the dryer.

She says the more practice reduces panic in a real emergency.

"Everyone stays calm, everyone knows what's going on. Even if there's noise going on, or distractions happen, it's just an automatic response," Morrell says.

The U.S. Fire Administration says this week, you should check all electrical cords to make sure they aren't frayed or cracked. It also suggests never running cords under carpet or rugs.

When you light a candle, make sure it's in a fire-proof container that won't tip over, and never leave a burning candle alone in a room with kids or pets.

If you have a space heater, make sure it automatically turns off if it tips over, and never plug it into an extension cord.

The USFA says your family's fire escape plan should include two ways out of each room. Remind your kids to walk low to avoid toxic smoke, and once you're out of the home, have a designated meeting place.