Did you know that in a home fire, it can take less than three minutes for your entire living room to be engulfed in flames? While that’s a scary thought, what’s scarier is knowing that you really only have about two minutes to get up and get your family to safety. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were over 380,000 home fires reported In 2015. That is one home fire reported every 86 seconds. So how do you stop this from happening to your home? The best defense against a home fire is prevention—to stop a fire before it starts. So, to kick off fire safety month, keep your home safe with these home fire prevention and safety tips.
Basic Home Fire Prevention
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside of every sleeping area
Your smoke alarms are your first defense to a fire. Make sure children know what to do when the smoke alarms go off.
- Test smoke alarms once every month, and if they are not working, replace them or change the batteries
Consider using a monitored smoke detector that has a 5+ year lithium battery. This requires less testing, and if batteries are ever low or the smoke alarm is not working, your monitoring company will know immediately.
- Do not overload electric outlets, and limit the use of extension cords
Be sure not to plug multiple electric appliances into the same outlet as this is a fire hazard. Also consider this when using multiple extension cords through the same outlet.
- Teach children never to play with lighters or matches
Fires can start and spread quickly, especially if there is some type of accelerant like lighter fluid or gasoline nearby. Proper fire prevention starts with education.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that could potentially catch fire, and always blow them out before leaving a room or going to sleep
If you’ve ever left a candle burning by mistake, you know they can burn pretty high as the wax melts. Monitor any candles that you burn, and keep the wick trimmed to keep the fire under control.
- Practice a proper home fire escape plan with your family that has at least two ways out of every room
Work with your family to plan what you would do in the event of a home fire, and designate a location to meet outside so you know everyone is safe.
Kitchen Fire Safety
- Turn off fire starting appliances when you are finished using them such as toasters, ovens, and even curling and clothing irons.
With a Smart Plug, you can actually have these appliances automatically turn off when you leave your house or after a certain amount of time.
- Limit distractions when cooking, and never leave the room with something on the stove
A grease fire can start and spread in seconds, and if you’re out of the room, you’ll lose vital time you need to put the fire out.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, just in case
The kitchen is the most common place that home fires start. Keep an extinguisher in your kitchen area so that you always have a defense ready.
- Never throw hot grease into the garbage can
Though hot grease may not be on fire, it can still ignite things in the garbage can. Instead, wait until the grease cools and hardens before throwing it away.
Extinguishing a Fire
- Call 911 First!
You never know if a fire will grow to the point where you will be unable to fight it. Call 911 first to give them more lead time to save your home.
- Know when to get to safety
If the fire has spread beyond the point where it started, or you can’t fight the fire with your back near an exit, you need to get to safety. The fire could potentially spread to your only exit, leaving you trapped.
- When using a fire extinguisher, remember the P.A.S.S. system
- Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever above the handle, Sweep from side to side.
If You Get Caught in a Home Fire
- Remain calm!
There’s less oxygen during a home fire, control your breathing to stay calm as you escape
- Use your fire escape plan
This is where your fire escape plan comes in handy. Use one of the escape routes that you mapped out and get to safety.
- Get out and stay out
Once you’re out of the home, stay out. Do not risk running back in to salvage belongings or fight the fire
- Get low, and stop, drop, and roll
Smoke and hot air rises, get low to the ground and crawl your way to safety. If your clothing catches fire, stop, drop, and roll.
A Home Fire is a are very serious, life-changing event that happens to thousands of people each year. Thankfully, through education and proper fire prevention, home fire statistics are declining year-over-year. Practice these fire prevention tips with your family, and stop fire before it starts.