3 Home Fire Safety Checks to do Today
It takes only 30 seconds for a small flame to turn into a major fire. With an average of over 350,000 homes experiencing fires each year, fire safety should be a priority in the home. Some simple and consistent checks can make a dramatic impact when it comes to fire prevention and safety.
Do an Equipment Check
Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home, in basements, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas. Consider installing interconnect smoke alarms that will all sound when one sounds. Smoke alarms older than 10 years old should be replaced.
Alarms should be tested at least once a month. Batteries will need to be replaced yearly. Schedule a specific time each year or replace when the chirping reminds you the battery is low. Non-replacement 10-year lithium batteries are the exception to this rule.
Fire extinguishers can be helpful when putting out small fires. It is recommended to have several fire extinguishers placed strategically in your home for quick use. Be sure you know how to operate your extinguisher properly. Check your extinguisher regularly and get it tested by a professional every few years.
Have a Plan & Practice
It is recommended that you plan with all the members of the house, even small children if possible. Visit all the rooms in the home. Find two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Consider drawing a map where you can mark all exits and escape routes along with where fire alarms are located. Check that all doors and windows open easily for escape access.
Pick a place your family will meet outside. It should be somewhere outside the front of the home. It could be the mailbox, a light post, or a neighbor’s house. Mark the location on your fire plan map.
Go outside and check to see if your address is easily visible from the street. Consider painting the address number on the curb to ensure visibility should emergency personnel be called.
Learn the emergency phone number for the fire department. If a fire does occur, get out, stay out, and call for help. Never go back inside for anyone or anything.
Practice your escape plan twice a year and make it as realistic as possible. Be sure to practice with children so they can master the fire plan before you do a mock drill. The practice is not meant to frighten children, but to empower them. You can let them know beforehand that you will be doing a drill. During the drill determine what may need to be changed in your plans. Remember to stay low and close doors on the way out to slow the spread of fire, giving more time to escape.
Be Smart with Electronics
Electrical outlets can only transfer so much electricity. If too many things are plugged in at once, then these circuits can become overloaded causing a small explosion or fire. Use a power strip to help with overcrowding of outlets. Consider unplugging appliances when not in use. This will save on electricity and help minimize shock and fire risk.
Inspect all electrical and extension cords regularly for signs of wear and tear or damage. Replace all damaged cords. Cords should never be run under carpets, rugs, doors, or windows.
Only use extension cords on a temporary basis. Never plug a space heater or fan into an extension cord or power strip.
Keep paper and other combustibles at least 3 feet away from space heaters and other heat sources.
Fire safety is too often overlooked and can have deadly consequences. Taking simple and consistent steps to prevent and prepare for a fire will be the best way to keep your home and family safe.
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