A fire in a home can start suddenly and spread fast. Smoke and heat quickly become unbearable. By the time a smoke detector sounds, you may only have a couple of minutes to get out of the building. These responsible fire safety tips can save your family and minimize damage to your belongings and property should a fire break out.
Practice These Fire Safety Tips for the Home
Install Smoke Alarms Correctly
Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, including the basement. There should be a smoke alarm inside and outside of each bedroom, living area, in hallways, stairways, and about ten feet from cooking appliances. Place ceiling-mounted detectors at least 18 inches from a corner and three feet from a vent. Wall-mounted devices should be between 4 and 12 inches from the ceiling. Test smoke detectors monthly and replace batteries annually or as needed.
Practice a Family Fire Safety Plan
In a house fire, you do not want a family member to panic and become trapped. Create a fire escape plan with your children. Everyone should know to crawl close to the ground and exit through the nearest safe window or door. Decide on a designated place outside, away from the house, to meet after evacuating. Family members can be accounted for and let emergency responders know if anyone is still inside the home. Practice your fire plan with the family at least a couple of times a year.
Have Extinguishers Available for Fire Safety
Fire extinguishers can stop small fires from becoming large blazes. Keep extinguishers near the kitchen, in workshops, and in the garage. Having a fire extinguisher accessible close to an exit keeps you from being trapped by a growing fire.
Check extinguishers for correct pressure once a month. Never put a used extinguisher back in service, even if it was only given one blast. The extinguishing agent breaks the seal and allows the pressure to leak out, making the fire extinguisher useless. Make sure each family member knows how to use your extinguisher. Local fire departments often provide training on fire extinguisher operation.
Teach Family Members How to Call 911
Teach children how to dial 911 in an emergency and make sure they memorize their home address. Practice sessions pretending to call 911 build confidence for your children because they’ll know how to get help if needed.
Keep Fire Exit Routes Clear
Fires create a hot, smoke-filled environment. Make it as easy as possible to escape from your home. Keep hallways and exit routes free of furniture and clutter.
Proactive Fire Safety Tips for the Home
Do Not Overload Electrical Components
The flow of electricity naturally creates heat. If too many appliances are plugged into one circuit, it can overheat the home’s wiring and outlets, causing a fire. If a circuit breaker keeps tripping, move an appliance to another outlet on a different breaker.
The same is true with extension cords. Don’t overload them and make sure the extension cord’s diameter is the same as or bigger than the cord on the appliance. Extension cords are designed for temporary use. Unplug the cords when not in use.
Never Leave Cooking Unattended
When food is being prepared, an adult should be in the kitchen. About 50% of house fires are due to cooking accidents. Pay attention to the food on the stove. Never leave the house while the oven is on. If cooking outdoors, have someone supervise the grill at all times.
Keep Space Heaters Away From Combustibles
The second leading cause of house fires is heating equipment. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, carpets, draperies, or other combustible items. Never leave space heaters running when you’re away and unplug them when not in use.
Fire safety measures save lives. Being proactive and eliminating fire hazards can prevent a tragedy. Follow these fire safety tips for the home so that you are better prepared in case of an emergency.
Redtail Building Services provides home inspections in Southeastern Virginia. Contact us to request an appointment.