Residential fires kill around 3,000 Americans each year. Most all those deaths can be prevented. If homeowners follow some basic fire prevention tips.
Here are some of the most basic things you can do to help ensure your household is as prepared as possible in the event of a fire.
Home Fire Safety Tip #1: Install Smoke Detectors
Smoke detector are your single best safeguard against fire fatalities. Get some installed. Nearly all of the 3,000 annual fire deaths each year take place in homes without working smoke detectors.
Smoke detectors should be placed on every floor of your home. They should be the immediate vicinity of each bedroom. Put a note on your calendar or your Outlook to test them once each month, and to replace the batteries at least once a year.
Replacing your smoke detectors once every 10 years is advisable, say manufacturers, but at DTN Security we agree with many a local fire departments: replacing them every eight years is safer.
Home Fire Safety Tip #2: Install Fire Extinguishers
You’re safest getting out of the house in case of a fire than you are fighting it. Fighting fire is the fireman’s job, and someone without professional training can easily be overwhelmed.
Nonetheless, having several fire extinguishers on hand throughout your home is a good idea. It can stop a small fire when it’s still small enough to handle.
Keep one in the kitchen. Keep one in the garage. Keep one in your workshop. Those are the places most residential fires start.
And check your extinguishers regularly to make sure they still work.
Home Fire Safety Tip #3: Stop Smoking
This tip can save your life even if you never have a fire. But regardless of the health factor, nodding off and falling asleep with a cigarette in hand has killed people too. And keeping matches and lighters and lighter fluid in a home — especially a home with young children — is a recipe for disaster.
Stop smoking. You just might keep your house from going up in smoke too.
Home Fire Safety Tip #4: Have An Escape Plan
Draw up a plan on what to do in case of a fire emergency. Discuss it in detail with your family. And then rehearse it at least twice a year.
What do you need to cover? Basic home fire safety procedures: checking doors for heat before opening them; crawling on the floor to avoid noxious gases and smoke, which float upward; and especially knowing the closest way out of the house, whether it’s a door, a window, or a fire ladder.
(Yes, make sure there’s a fire ladder, especially if your bedrooms are on a second floor or higher. If the stairways are aflame, they could be your only path to safety you have.)
Above all, practice. Schools do fire drills. You should too.
Home Fire Safety Tip #5: Think
Many fires happen just because people don’t think. Smoke in bed, for instance, and the blankets will soon be smoking too. Do you use heaters? Put them at least 3 feet away from curtains or cushions or anything flammable — including walls, which are a major source of house fires.
And don’t overload electrical sockets. Why do you think they make outlets with only two plug sockets? Because overloaded electrical circuits thanks to extension chords and multi-prong outlets can go up in flame.
Home Fire Safety Tip #6: Educate Your Children about the Dangers of Fire
Some statistics claim that over 100,000 fires are set every year by children under five. So make it plain to your children that playing with fire is not acceptable, and is potentially lethal. Don’t just talk: they can’t play with matches if there aren’t any there. Keep such items out of the house completely, or as far away from young hands as you can. Don’t take chances with your kids.
The bottom line? Be prepared. And be sure you have an alarm or warning system that alerts you at once if and when fire starts to burn.
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