You rely on your home to keep you safe. When inside, you can remain cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Sunlight doesn’t burn you, and rain doesn’t make you wet. You’re also protected from unwanted visitors, both human and pest alike. The least you can do for your home is protect it from fire dangers.
Educate Everybody in Your Home
Never start with anything other than making sure everybody that you live with knows fire safety measures. This includes kids of all ages. Your local fire department likely has free resources you can use to educate everyone about small, preventative changes in your home that can keep accidental fires from happening.
In addition to prevention, be sure everyone knows how to get out. Once a fire starts, it can hit critical levels in just 30 seconds. You and your family might have less than 2 minutes to get out, even if you’re asleep and don’t know what’s going on.
If a Fire Happens
Should your home have a fire happen, make sure everyone knows how to get out. Your fire escape plan should involve the following steps:
- Get everyone out.
- Stay out of the home.
- Call for help.
- Do not go back inside.
Your fire escape plan should be practiced every six months. Here is a great article from ready.gov on how to get your fire escape plan in place.
While the most crucial aspect of fire safety is educating everyone about how to escape your home in the event of the worst, prevention is the best way to protect your family and home. That starts with smoke detectors. At a minimum, you should have one for each level of your home. Ideally, you’ll have recent technology that can connect to Wi-Fi. That way you get alerts when batteries need replacement or if alarms actually go off. In some installations, a smart home system can even notify emergency services about the fire.
You might be more used to these in commercial or office settings, but you need some in your home. Make sure they’re placed high enough that kids can’t easily get to them. While you likely won’t hang them directly on the wall for aesthetic reasons, adults should be able to get at them quickly and know how to use them.
If you’re not at home to watch over pets, they should be placed in a safe room or crated. This is particularly true of newer and untrained pets. Domesticated animals are known to mistakenly assume that electrical cords are chew toys. They might also urinate on electric sockets. Fires can happen anytime liquid hits a power source.
Keep Flammable Materials in Safe Spots
Unfortunately, you may have quite a few common household items that are quite flammable. These include but are not limited to dry leaves, lawn clippings, rubbing alcohol, flour, cooking oil, hairspray, nail polish, gasoline, and paint thinner.
It’s a great feature to have in your home, but it needs inspection and cleaning annually. Make sure a screen is in place to keep embers from flying through the air into your living space. Also, try to stick to seasoned or dried hardwoods that have had several years to age.
Check Your Wiring
Even if you prevent kids and dogs from messing with wiring, make sure you check it all regularly. Start with cords you can see, and then move on to cords that are more inconvenient. Then, check even the ones in crawl spaces or ventilation shafts. Check all your electronic devices and appliances. Wiring can fray over time, even without pest damage. A licensed professional needs to replace any faulty wiring that is found.
If you use these, keep pets and kids at least 3 feet away from them. Also, never use extension cords with them.
No Smoking Indoors
Don’t let anyone smoke inside, because a lost cigarette cherry can slowly ignite a fire that takes your home down. Designate a smoking area outside, preferably on a concrete or stone patio with an effective ashtray.
Winter holidays, especially from Thanksgiving until Christmas, are the time where most residential fires happen. These fires are also more likely to be fatal. On average, one person dies for every 143 fires happening from January until early November. During the holiday season, that goes up to one death for every 32 fires.
Turkey fryers are a common danger. Any kind of food frying is more of a kitchen fire risk, but these are especially dangerous. They can tip over easily and they need lots of boiling oil. If you can, only use it outdoors on a surface that is stable enough.
Holiday decorations are another problem. Christmas trees need watering every day so they don’t get too dry.
Also, never overplug your holiday lights. LED lights are much safer than older lights, but never use nails to hang anything. One bad hammer swing and you could puncture an electrical wire with metal. You might not like the lighting effects that happen when you flip the switch.
Prevention Is the Best Protection
You can get insurance that covers your home and possessions in the event of a fire, but no insurance coverage can make sure your family gets out in time. Also, can any sum of money replace your lost peace of mind and family photos? Do everything you can to be ready for a fire, but do even more to make sure it never happens in the first place.