Thousands of house fires happen every year. Common causes are cooking, heating the home, and faulty wiring. Follow these fire safety tips to help protect your family and your belongings.
1. Installing Smoke Alarms is the Most Important Fire Safety Tip
With smoke alarms placed on each floor and in every bedroom, you will be alerted as soon as possible to smoke and fire. Properly installed smoke detectors give an early warning so that you and your family members can exit the home quickly.
2. Fire Safety Includes Performing Monthly Tests on Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms don’t protect you if their batteries are dead, so test them monthly. Put in fresh batteries at least twice a year. Some types of smoke detectors will warn you of low batteries with an occasional chirp. Replace the batteries at the first sign of this warning.
3. Talk About a Fire Escape Plan
Create a fire escape plan with your family. Talk about options for exiting the house in case of fire. All second story rooms should have escape ladders available that can be attached to the windows in case of fire. Choose a safe meeting place away from the home and practice your escape route annually.
4. Teach Basic Fire Safety Tips to Children
Teaching children fire safety is helpful in preventing house fires and keeping them safe. Instruct them to not play with matches and lighters. Teach them how to stop, drop, and roll in case their clothing catches fire. In case of a house fire, explain to children not to open the door if the knob is hot. They will need to exit the home through an alternate escape route, which all rooms should have. They should understand that is it better to crawl to escape the home when the smoke is thick.
5. Don’t Leave Food Cooking Unattended
When preparing food, never leave the cooking unattended. If you need to step away from the stove, ask another adult to supervise. This fire safety tip applies to the stove, the grill, and any appliances like deep-fryers.
6. Use Space Heaters Safely
Practice the safe use of space heaters. Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fire deaths. Keep heaters away from furnishings, drapes, and other flammable materials. Turn off space heaters when going to bed or leaving the house.
7. For Fire Safety in the Home, Don’t Allow Smoking Indoors
House fires start every year because a smoker fell asleep with a lit cigarette. Smoking indoors can be especially dangerous when smoking near upholstery and other flammable fabrics. It is best to have a strict no-smoking policy inside the home.
8. Learn to Use a Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers assist in putting out small fires. Ask your local fire department for training on the proper use of extinguishers. The U.S. Fire Administration recommended the acronym “PASS” to remember how to operate a fire extinguisher. Pull the pin as you hold the fire extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you. Aim low at the fire. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly. Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side near the base of the flames. Fire extinguishers should be checked regularly because they do expire.
House fires are more likely to occur during the winter months. Keep your holiday season safe by focusing on fire safety.