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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates an average of more than 386,000 unintentional residential fires (pdf) per year from 2006 through 2008. That total includes nearly 2,400 deaths and more than 12,500 injuries.

The CPSC recommends the following safe practices to prevent a residential fire:

Smoke Alarms (PDF) are critical for early fire detection and should be installed on every level, outside sleeping areas and inside bedrooms. Also, the batteries should be checked yearly.

Escape Plans should be developed and practiced among all family members. Everyone should know how to escape should the smoke alarm sound. This NFPA publication (pdf) can help you create your escape plan.

Safe Cooking practices are important. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of cooking fires. According to the CPSC 150,000 cooking fires occurred from 2006 through 2008. The result was an average of 150 deaths each year.

Heating and cooling equipment was the second-largest cause of home fires in the same date range with an estimated 57,000 fires and 220 deaths.

Read more about fire safety by visiting the CPSC Web site.

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