Fire Safety Tips for Your Home
October 29, 2017
Fire safety month continues throughout October. Now that we have cleared up any questions regarding fire and carbon monoxide monitoring for your home, let’s dig into the essential tips that you can implement on your own to prevent fires, or respond accordingly while waiting for help. Always be prepared!
1. House Fire Prevention
U.S. fire departments respond to a house fire every 23 seconds. Check out these useful steps you can take to prevent a fire from occurring in your home.
- Never leave your oven or grill unattended and always keep children away.
- Grills should be placed at least 10 feet away from anything flammable (siding, decks, eaves, tree branches).
- In a home where oxygen is used, never smoke cigarettes.
- Don’t smoke cigarettes when you are tired – the risk of falling asleep with a cigarette still burning is high.
- Keep your small kitchen appliances unplugged and replace any frayed wires.
- Use space heaters that are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed and keep them away from anything flammable.
- Make sure your wood stove or fireplace fires are completely out before leaving your house or going to bed.
- Keep your portable generators outside.
- Place fire extinguishers in rooms with cooking appliances and wood-burning fireplaces and stoves.
PRO TIP: Learn how to use a fire extinguisher AND when to forego its use and just get out safely at nfpa.org. Stay tuned for a blog from us on how to choose a fire extinguisher as well!
2. Create and Practice Fire Emergency Plans
You’ve probably heard the saying “fail to plan, plan to fail” before. This is one of those times that planning is imperative for your safety, especially if you have children in the home.
The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2017 campaign was “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” and it still applies today. Make sure your fire escape plan includes two exits, accessible windows, and familiarity with your home in the dark.
3. Remember The Fire Facts
Keeping the Ready Campaign’s fire facts in mind will help you react quickly with fewer missteps during an emergency situation.
- FIRE IS FAST: It takes 30 seconds or less for a small flame to turn into a large fire, two minutes to become life-threatening and five minutes for your home to be completely engulfed in flames.
- FIRE IS HOT: Heat is more threatening than flames. The temperature of a room during a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this extremely hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes into your skin.
- FIRE IS DARK: Fire starts bright but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.
- FIRE IS DEADLY: Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.PRO TIP: It sounds counterintuitive but try not to breathe. Holding your breath when surrounded by smoke and toxic gases can save lives!
4. What To Do During A House Fire
Keeping the fire facts in mind will help you proceed accordingly should you find yourself in this horrific situation.
- Since smoke and toxic gasses rise, you want to stay low.
- If you or your clothing catch fire, stop, drop, and roll. If that isn’t an option, try smothering the flames with a blanket or towel.
- As you work to exit your home, always feel the doorknob before opening the door; if it is hot, leave it closed and find your secondary exit.
- That being said, open all doors slowly and shut them quickly if there is smoke or fire.
If you get out, alert firefighters to any people or pets still in the house. If you are unable to escape, think prevention. You want to prevent as much smoke and fire from entering your area as possible. Close all doors, cover any spaces or cracks with towels or tap, close all vents.
PRO TIP: If you are trapped on the second story or higher, find a window and indicate where you are located with something brightly colored or using a flashlight.
5. Test and Replace Smoke & CO Alarm Batteries
Daylight saving time is coming up on Sunday, November 7th. This is a great time to change your smoke (and carbon monoxide) detector batteries, and then test them for good measure. We recommend setting a calendar reminder twice per year so that you don’t forget!
To take that one step further, you can get automated low battery notifications when you opt for 24/7 smoke alarm monitoring. Never miss a beat when your life safety systems are monitored.
PRO TIP: Newer smoke alarms have a 10-year life, which means they need replacing much less often than older versions. In some states, including Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan, 10-year smoke alarms are required. Now is a good time to ensure your safety with new technology. Contact us for more information.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of a monitored fire alarm in your home with the hope that you never actually need to use it. However, house fires are all too common. Doing your part to prevent fires and knowing what to do during that time between your fire alarm sounding and help arriving could be life-saving.
Check out next week’s blog on fire safety tips for your business. Contact us with any questions!
2 The Ready Campaign, a national public service campaign promoting preparedness during emergencies.