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How Safe Are You? Living in a Mobile or Modular Home


By: Teri Mizuhara, CAL FIRE Amador-El Dorado-Sacramento-Alpine Unit

Camino April 4, 2013 – "Having your home catch on fire is devastating enough, but if you live in a mobile or modular home your risk of a house fire is increased due to the types of materials used in its construction. Your risk of dying in a mobile or manufactured home fire is 30- 44% higher than someone who lives in a one or two family wood framed dwelling. So what can you do to prevent yourself from becoming a statistic? Please read on" says CAL FIRE Unit Chief Kelly Keenan of the Amador-El Dorado Unit.

First off what is the difference?

- Mobile homes or Manufactured homes are a single structure on a chassis which is towed to a site where they are placed on a foundation which may or may not be permanent. They may be located in "trailer parks" where the resident pays a monthly fee for, among other things, the hookups for water, electricity and sewage.

- Modular homes are prefabricated structures manufactured and towed in sections to a location and placed on a permanent foundation. These are located on parcels of land with a permanent utilities that are connected to the modular homes.

Fast Fire Facts:

- Between 2005-2009 there were an average of 12,400 mobile/manufactured home fires per year.

- 234 people died, 453 people were injured and there was approximately $186 million dollars in direct property damage.

- Mobile and modular homes smaller size supports faster moving fires.

Mobile Home fire safety tips:

- Smoke alarms! Make sure your smoke alarms are working (change batteries annually and clean them monthly). If the alarm is 10 years old or older, replace the entire unit.

- Consider purchasing smoke alarms that link together, so if one goes off they ALL go off, alerting everyone that there is a problem.

- Heating fires are the number one cause of house fires. Keep your heating/cooling system well maintained. If you use space heaters, keep a three foot area around the heater clear of flammables such as curtains, blankets and overstuffed furniture.

- Properly maintain the home's electrical distribution and lighting systems. The second leading cause of fires originate from the electrical and lighting equipment.

- NEVER leave cooking food unattended. The number three cause of fires in mobile homes is cooking fires.

- Make an Exit Drill plan and practice it both during day and nighttime hours at least twice a year.

For more information on fire safety for mobile homes please visit http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/PDF/Public%20Education/ManufacturedHomesSafetyTips.pdf or call us at 530-644-2345 and we will mail you a free brochure.


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