Thousands of house fires occur annually in the United States, causing billions of dollars in damage and many casualties. The good news is that many of these fires are preventable with little knowledge and effort. Here are a few fire safety tips for the home to help you keep your family safe.
Helpful Tips for Fire Safety at Home
Keep Flammable Materials Away from Heat Sources
Check your living spaces to verify that flammable materials – like newspapers, magazines, curtains, and clothing – are away from heat sources. In the winter, the danger increases as homeowners use space heaters and the fireplace to supplement the HVAC system. Keep items at least five feet away from any heat-producing fixture or appliance.
Create an Escape Plan
Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with your family. Everyone should know two ways to exit each room in the house and where to meet outside. You should also have a designated person responsible for calling 911 in the event of a fire.
Fire Safety Tips for the Home: Install Smoke Detectors
Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home and in every bedroom. Test the devices monthly and replace the batteries as needed, usually twice yearly. A good rule of thumb is to replace the batteries when you change your clocks for daylight savings.
Test smoke detectors by pushing the test button, a task even small children can assist with. Vacuum debris and remove dust from around detectors regularly. Replace the devices every ten years.
Take Care with Candles
Never leave candles unattended or burning overnight. If you must use them, place the candle in a sturdy holder away from flammable items. Don’t leave candles within reach of children or pets, and extinguish them when you leave the room.
Don’t Overload Electrical Outlets
Take care to avoid overloading outlets and extension cords. Large appliances should have a designated electrical outlet. If you need more outlets, have an electrician install additional ones rather than using multiple adapters or extension cords.
Keep Matches Away from Children
Don’t allow children to play with matches and lighters. Teach them these items are tools only used with an adult present. Kids can learn about fire safety and contribute to creating the escape route for the home.
Fire Safety Tips for the Home: Don’t Smoke Indoors
Don’t smoke inside the house; if you smoke, do so outdoors and always use a deep ashtray on a sturdy surface. Keep cigarettes and ashtrays away from flammable materials like curtains, bedding, and towels. Dispose of cigarette butts properly – don’t throw them in the trash can.