6 Home Fire Safety and Prevention TipsPosted on Feb 14, 2018
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that in 2016 there were more than 1,342,000 fires reported in the U.S. resulting in 3,390 civilian deaths and approximately $10.6 billion worth of property damage. These numbers equate to a home structure fire reported every 90 seconds in the U.S. and one civilian death every two hours and 35 minutes.
Fire prevention is always the best course. The next best thing is to make sure everyone in your household knows what to do in the event of a fire. These fire safety and prevention tips will help you protect your family if a fire ever does occur in your home.
1) Have a Fire Escape Plan in Place
Knowing what to do in the heat of the moment saves lives. It’s important not only to have a plan that includes escape routes and meetup locations but to practice your plan at least twice a year. Don’t forget to reinforce the plan often with your children, so they know what to do as well as they know your phone number and address.
Also make sure that all sleeping areas in the home are equipped with the appropriate tools to assist in that plan (ladders on second-floor bedrooms, fire extinguishers, strobe lights for windows, child or pet-finder stickers, etc.).
2) Install Smoke Detectors on Every Floor
Beyond installation, test smoke detectors monthly (choose a day that’s easy to remember, like the day you pay your electric bill each month) and change the battery once per year. The day after Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to do this and ensures that they are all fresh and new for the holiday season.
3) Store Matches and Lighters Safely
This primarily means you need to store them out of the reach of children, but also make sure you store them in locations where combustion might become an issue or exposure to flames might for matches.
4) Avoid Overloading Outlets and Extension Cords
This can cause a fire hazard in itself. You should also avoid running wiring under rugs, over nails, or across high-traffic areas in the home. Inspect extension cords routinely for signs of exposed wires or loose plugs, and make sure there is no exposed wiring on outlets and that they all have proper cover plates installed.
5) Practice Proper Cooking Safety
Safety in the kitchen is paramount. Make sure children and pets aren’t allowed to roughhouse, romp, and play while you’re cooking. Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher handy and check it routinely to make sure it’s operating properly (perhaps checking when time changes in the spring and fall each year). Don’t leave food unattended on the stove or in the oven and avoid wearing loose clothing that might catch fire while cooking.
6) Be Careful With all Open Flames
From fireplaces and wood burning stoves to candles, cooking on gas stoves, and smoking tobacco, open flames can pose substantial fire risks. Even if you are careful with the open flames in your home, not everyone else might exercise the same caution. Consider alternatives when possible, even going so far as to smoke outside the home and dump smoldering butts in buckets of water. The key is to reduce risks, and open flames are among the greatest fire risks in any home.
While there are no guarantees, no matter how careful you are, taking these steps can help prevent fires and keep your family safe is one ever does take place.