On average, U.S. fire departments answer 358,300 home fire calls a year.
To avoid being a part of this statistic, carefully secure your home and educate yourself and your loved ones on fire safety.
Here are some tips on how to prevent fire, and what to do in an emergency fire situation.
Have a plan
Take some time to think of an emergency plan in case of a fire. Practice this emergency situation plan with your family regularly and explain how important it is to memorize it. Sometimes, during a fire emergency, you have as little as 2 minutes to react and escape. In these situations, speed is crucial and it saves lives. Remember that smoke will reduce visibility and will make you disoriented, so make sure everyone knows the escape plan by heart. Once you’re outside, call the fire department and do not go back in.
Never leave open fire unattended
Cooking appliances are number one home fire triggers. Never leave cooking appliances or barbeques unattended and handle them with care. Make sure to put out all candles and turn off oil burners before going out or going to bed. Don’t smoke in bed to avoid any accidents. Remember, if you’re asleep, you cannot smell smoke. Also, take time to educate your children that lighters and matches are not toys. Keep fire starters out of their reach.
Don’t overload the power outlets
If you use a power board, make sure that it’s not overloaded. When plugging something in, avoid loose connections, because they cause overheating and eventually fire. Regularly check if outlets are firmly set in the wall and that there are no wires hanging out. Moreover, frequently check for dust in outlet holes, especially in those that are not used every day.
Fire extinguishers are used to put out small fires or stop fire from spreading. It’s a good idea to have one on every level of your home and educate your family on how to properly handle them. There are different types of fire extinguishers, so get those that best fit your needs.
If you have a fireplace in your home, pay extra attention that the chimney is clean while you use it and that there is sufficient ventilation. Install a protective screen that stops any sparks from getting out of the pit. If you use a portable heater, place it away from curtains, tablecloths or furniture. Never hang anything on the heater, and turn it off when you leave the house. Also, check electric blankets for possible cable damage before you use them. Never bring inside any outdoor heating and cooking devices, otherwise you’re in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning which can be deadly.
The best thing you can do to protect you family and property is to get smoke alarms. They detect smoke in the air and produce loud sounds that can easily wake up anyone and give you time to escape. Install one on every level of your house and make sure they are in perfect working condition at all times. If you want to stay extra safe, get an emergency warning system and you will never have to worry about your smoke detectors.
If you live in areas that are prone to bushfires, pay attention that your yard is clear and gutters clean. Make sure to handle outside fire with extra caution.
People often forget how dangerous fire is and how quickly it consumes property and lives. Follow these tips on fire safety and always have them in mind. You can even take a course on fire protection or get more information from fire experts in your area. Remember, fire is not a toy and should be treated with caution. Stay safe!