A fire can create a devastating loss. In the case of a house fire not only is living space destroyed, but many irreplaceable keepsakes and mementos are lost as well. While loss of property is a terrible ordeal to go through, it’s definitely not the worst case scenario. According to the American Red Cross, you may have less than two minutes to escape your home once a fire begins. Having an emergency escape plan is important to surviving a fire. What is better, though, is preventing a fire in the first place. Here are some safety tips to help you prevent a fire in your home.
Be Alert Around Open Flames
Make sure you don’t leave burning candles unattended. This is especially true if there are children or pets in the house. Matches and lighters should also be kept out of the reach of children. Candles should be burned in sturdy, fire-proof containers that are not likely to tip. Candles should be kept away from materials that are flammable; the same goes for ashtrays. Wherever they’re placed, make sure candles, cigars, or cigarettes are all extinguished when you leave the room.
Take Extra Care with Electricity
- Watch electrical cords for cracking or fraying and make sure you don’t run them under carpets. If the cords aren’t visible, you won’t be able to see problems when they occur.
- Check out your clothes dryer to make sure that the lint trap and venting system are clean.
- Don’t leave the stove unattended when cooking, and make sure it is fully off when you are done. Flammable materials should not be left on or near the stove.
- Appliances should be plugged directly into outlets and not connected with extension cords.
Stay Warm, But Not Too Warm
As we mentioned earlier, extension cords should not be used with appliances. This holds especially true if the appliance is a space heater. Space heaters should be approved by a national laboratory and have a function that turns them off automatically when tipped over. Furnaces and fireplaces should be maintained with yearly cleanings and inspections. Ashes from the fire place should be transported in metal containers and dumped out side at least three feet from anything flammable.
Have a Personal Emergency Alert System
Every home needs both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the house. They should be cleaned and checked monthly so that batteries can be changed when needed. Carbon monoxide detectors shouldn’t be more than 7 years old, while smoke alarms can last up to 10 years. It’s good to keep fire alarms near every sleeping area and in the kitchen. Click here to learn more about the basics of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Make an Escape Plan
A good escape plan will include at least two escape routes for every room of the house, and a set meeting place if anything happens. The meeting place should be far enough from the house to be safe but close enough that fire fighters will know that everyone is out. Fire drills should be practiced once a month and should include practicing crawling to stay beneath smoke and toxic fumes. And remember: once you’re out, stay out.
Check over your house to make sure you’re implementing these fire safety tips properly. Making sure that you have the necessary equipment and avoiding dangerous situations can help you avoid disaster.