Threat of home fires persists as widespread U.S. drought continues


Observe fire safety with tips from Pella® Windows and Doors 

PELLA, IOWA — October 5, 2012 — According to the National Climatic Data Center , the drought of 2012 that persists across much of the United States is among the 10 largest of the past century. With hot, dry conditions continuing across much of the country, Pella Windows and Doors encourages Americans to be especially vigilant about home fire safety. 

“High heat, combined with little precipitation across much of the U.S., creates favorable conditions for fires,” said Kathy Krafka Harkema, Pella spokesperson and fire safety educator. “Now’s the time to develop a home fire safety escape plan, and practice it with your family to promote fire and window safety preparedness,” she said.

Through its Close the door on fire ® campaign, Pella encourages consumers to practice home safety year-round:

Identify! Prepare! Practice!

  • Evaluate fire safety risks inside your home and immediate surroundings. Equip your garage with smoke detectors since garage fires can start and spread quickly. Also, properly extinguish fire in indoor fireplaces or outdoor fire settings like grills or fire pits to prevent the risk of fire spreading around your home or elsewhere. Check for local burn ban ordinances and follow them.
  • Identify two exits – Designate two exits from every room in your home — a door and a window. Make sure doors and windows open quickly and easily to help ensure a quick exit; if not, consider replacing them for safety’s sake.
  • Have a plan – Download a fire escape grid from Pella ( http://pressroom.pella.com/photo_library/preview/621/ ) and draw a floor plan of each level of your home. Before an emergency strikes, establish and communicate a meeting place a safe distance outside your home for your household members to gather in the event of a fire.
  • Check the alarms – Install working smoke alarms in or near every sleeping area and on every level in your home. Test alarms monthly, change batteries regularly, and replace alarms not permanently wired into your home’s electrical system every 10 years.
  • Make smart purchases – Consider keeping items like fire extinguishers and if your home contains more than one story, fire escape ladders in your home. Mark their location on your home fire plan and share this information with those in your home.
  • Test the alarm Sound smoke alarms when household members are awake so everyone knows what they sound like, and test your family’s ability to awaken to fire alarms during sleeping hours. If they don’t awaken easily, assign someone to awaken sound sleepers in the event of an emergency.
  • Practice makes perfect – Practice your home fire escape plan with everyone in your home at least twice a year. Practice your plan first in the daytime to familiarize everyone in your home with what to do in the event of a fire, and then at night, when most home fires occur.

Fire safety during drought

  • Keep grass cut short around your home and property
  • Remove dried leaves and other unnecessary flammable debris
  • Remove debris from your home’s gutters
  • Trim and remove dead plant material like trees and shrubs in your landscaping
  • Observe burn bans and refrain from starting outdoor fires, including campfires and grills that have exposed embers

Window safety tips from Pella

  • Keep children’s play away from windows, doors and balconies.
  • Teach people not to lean against a window screen. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep a person in the building.
  • Keep windows closed and locked when not in use to let in fresh air. When opening windows for ventilation, open those that a child cannot reach like the upper sash on a double-hung window.
  • Keep furniture like beds and dressers — anything children can climb — away from windows.

Safety stats

In the U.S., a home fire is reported every 83 seconds, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). More than 3,500 Americans die each year in fires, USFA reports, and about 20,000 are injured.

 “Despite the best intentions to change batteries in smoke alarms or practice home fire drills, many people simply don’t talk to their families about these potentially life-saving practices,” Krafka Harkema said. “Take the time to do it. Pella provides fact sheets with safety tips to help you protect your family year-round.”

Helpful tools, images, audio sound bite

For additional fire safety resources, visit:

About Pella

Pella Corporation is a leader in designing, testing, manufacturing and installing quality windows and doors for new construction, remodeling and replacement applications.

As a family-owned and professionally managed privately-held company, Pella is known for its 87-year history of making innovative products, providing quality service and delivering on customer satisfaction. Headquartered in Pella, Iowa, the company is committed to incorporating new technologies, increasing productivity and practicing environmental stewardship to create satisfied customers.

Pella manufactures quality windows, patio doors and entry door systems sold through a Direct Sales Network operating Pella Window & Door Showrooms across the United States and Canada and select building materials retailers, including Lowe’s®. For more information, call 888-847-3552 or visit pella.com. Follow Pella on Twitter.com @Pella_News, on Facebook at facebook.com/pellawindowsanddoors on Pinterest.com/pellawindows and on YouTube at youtube.com/pellawindowsanddoors.

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                        Kathy Krafka Harkema                   Chris Irvine

                        Pella Corporation                            The Integer Group

                        Office: 641-621-6971                      Office: 515-247-2895

                        Cell: 641-780-6925                         Cell: 515-710-5041

                        krafka-harkemakk@pella.com      cirvine@integer.com

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