Fire Safety Tips – Introduction
It’s a scary thought, but do you have a plan of what you will do if you wake up to find that fire has broken out in your home? It is estimated that a family will have less than two minutes to evacuate their home if a fire has taken hold. So, knowing what to do in advance will help you save valuable time. There is a home fire in America every 86 seconds. So, we have compiled this list of must-know fire safety tips to help you prepare for what we all hope will never happen.
Fire Prevention Tips
Being aware of the danger of fire is the first step in fire prevention. Thankfully, home fires are something that we don’t see every day. However, that can make us a little bit complacent about the danger. There are, though, approximately 3,500 fire related fatalities every year. So, the risk is very real. Overall, the number of fire fatalities has decreased in recent years. This is likely to be due to increased awareness, wider use of fire safety products, and improvements in the fire safety of domestic products. The fact remains, though, that every household should take fire prevention precautions. Here are some fire safety tips to help prevent home fires.
1. Install Smoke Detectors
Fire alarms and smoke detectors will provide the early warning that you need. They will give you time to get the family out of the home before a fire gets out of control. Smoke detectors should be installed on every level of the home and in every room. You should also test all your smoke alarms once a month. It is also important to be aware that smoke detectors don’t last forever. Most domestic smoke alarms need replacing every 7-10 years.
2. Plan Your Escape Route
Knowing in advance how you will escape a fire can save lives. You should have an emergency escape route mapped out for you and your family. To do this, start by drawing a diagram of your property. This should include all the windows and doors. Identify the escape routes on each level of your home. Identify alternative escape routes in case the main exits are blocked. If you have rooms on the upper levels of the property, you may wish to buy emergency escape ladders.
3. Practice Your Family Fire Drills
Fire drills in public buildings are regularly carried out. But have you ever had a fire drill at home for your family? Practice your fire drills with your family so that everyone is aware of all the escape routes. Make sure that everyone is aware of these basic fire safety tips. Remember that smoke can make it difficult to see as well. So, practice your fire drills in the dark. Set different scenarios for your fire drills too, with the fire being in different rooms. The more prepared you are, the more likely it will be that you all get out unscathed.
4. Teach Children about the Dangers of Fire
Your kids need to learn these basic fire safety tips as well. They need to know what to do in the event of a fire if you are not there, or you are unable to help them. Remember to keep matches and all flammable items away from young children. Teach them that playing with things that might cause a fire, like the stove, is not allowed.
5. Never Leave Cooking Unattended
Always stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. Especially if you are frying something in cooking oil. Cooking oil fires can ignite in seconds. It’s the most common cause of home kitchen fires.
6. Never Leave Anything That Is Burning Unattended
Anything that has a flame is a fire risk. That includes candles and open fires. Even the small flame of a scented candle can ignite other things if it falls over when you are not looking. So, if it has a flame, stay with it, or extinguish the flame.
7. Check Your Electrical Equipment
Be careful with electrical equipment. Especially things that get hot, like hairdryers and heated hair straighteners. Check electrical equipment regularly for faults. Make sure that there are no exposed wires and that the cord hasn’t become damaged.
8. Be Safe with Portable Heaters
Keep portable space heaters at least four feet way from any combustible objects. Never hang clothes over a portable heater to dry. When you buy portable heaters, make sure that they have thermostat control mechanism. And, check that they will switch off automatically if they topple over.
9. Remember to Switch off Electrical Appliances after Use
Always make sure that electrical appliances are switched off after use. This fire safety tip applies especially to appliances that get hot, like the kitchen stove, heated tools, and portable heaters. Make it a habit to double check that appliances are switched off before you go to bed each night.
10. Smoke Outdoors
If you smoke, then going outside to smoke is the safest thing to do. Carelessly discarded cigarettes can smolder for some time. If you go to bed and leave a cigarette burning, it could fall on something combustible and start a fire.
Recommended Fire Safety Products
When it comes to fire safety, prevention is always better than having to fight a fire. If a fire does break out in your home, the first thing you should do it call the fire department. In some cases, though, you may be able to tackle a small fire yourself. Or, at least keep it under control until the fire department arrives. There are several types of fire safety products for the home. Here are the main fire safety products that every home should have.
1. Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are a must in any home. They provide the warning of a fire that will ensure that everyone can get out of the building safely. It is important that smoke detectors are installed on every level of the home. Ideally, they should be installed in every room of the home. According to The National Fire Prevention Association, three out of every five fire deaths are the result of not having working smoke detectors in the home. One of the essential fire safety tips is that you have enough working smoke detectors installed in your home. And that you test that they are working every month. To learn more about smoke detectors, read our Best Smoke Detector Reviews.
2. Fire Escape Ladders
If you live in a building with several levels, a fire escape ladder will provide a safe escape route from an upstairs room. The best fire escape ladders fold up, so they can be stored away. In an emergency, they can be attached to a windowsill and unfolded down the outside of the building. Jumping from even a first story window can cause serious injury. If you fall badly, it can be fatal.
3. Fire Extinguishers
You should have at least one fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and one on each level of your home. Fire extinguishers are classified by the type of fires that they can be used to extinguish. The most common type of extinguisher for home use is an ABC rated fire extinguisher. These are suitable for fighting wood, paper, and other solid combustibles. They can also be used on burning liquids, like gasoline and cooking oil. And they are safe to use on electrical fires. For more information on home fire extinguishers, see our Best Fire Extinguisher Reviews and Guide.
4. Fire Blankets
Fire blankets are for use on small fires. They smother the fire and starve it of oxygen. They are very useful to have in the kitchen. A fire blanket can extinguish cooking oil fires without the risk of spreading the flaming liquid. They can also be used to smother the flames of a person’s burning clothing.
5. Fire Sprinklers
The best of all defense against home fires is a home fire sprinkler system. Many modern buildings are already installed with sprinklers. Sprinklers will dampen down the flames and reduce the heat of a fire. They can be an expensive option, though, if you don’t already have them installed.
What to Do in the Event of a Fire in Your Home
Discovering a fire in the home is a very frightening experience, but you must do your best not to panic. The important thing to remember is that the safety of you and your family must come before anything else. Here are some fire safety tips on what to do if you discover a fire in your home.
Put Your Fire Escape Plan into Action
The first thing to do is make sure that everyone is aware of the fire and start getting everyone out of the property. Forget about your possessions. Put people first. Think about who might need help evacuating the building. The elderly and very young children, for example. Make them the priority. Preserving life is far more important than saving your property and belongings.
Extinguish the Fire If You Can
If the fire is anything other than very small, you should call 911 immediately. Even if you think you may be able to extinguish the fire yourself. If you think you can extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher, stand with your back to an escape route, aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire, and sweep it back and forth. If the flames ever go above head height, then it’s time to get out and leave it to the fire department.
Drop to the Floor and Crawl
Smoke and heat are often more dangerous in a home fire than the flames. If there is thick, heavy smoke and you are finding it difficult to breathe and see, drop to the floor to find your way out. If you drop to the floor and crawl, the smoke will be thinner, and the heat will be less.
Test Doors Before You Open Them
If you think the fire has spread, you shouldn’t open any internal door without testing it first. Touch the doorknob with your hand before you open the door. If it’s hot, there could be a fire waiting for you on the other side of the door.
Never Use the Elevator in a Fire
If there is a fire in the building, you should never use the elevator to escape. You could get trapped in an elevator if the power fails, or the elevator could fail altogether. Always use the stairs or the fire escape instead.
Close the Door of the Room If You Can’t Escape
If you find yourself trapped by fire, close the door of the room you are in and call for help. If you don’t have a phone, try to attract attention by shouting and waving something like a piece of cloth out the window. Plug up any air vents and the gaps under the doors if you can. That will stop the smoke getting into the room. And, try not to panic.
Once You Are Out, Stay Out!
Once you and your family are out of the building, stay out. Don’t attempt to re-enter the building to save possessions, it’s not worth it. The firefighters will save what they can for you. That’s what they do. Take you and your family to a safe distance and let the firefighters get on with what they are trained to do.
Fire Safety Tips – Conclusion
Fire safety in the home is something that a lot people don’t give much thought to. You can, though, do a lot to prevent fires occurring and to prepare yourself to deal with fires. If here is one of these fire safety tips that everyone should heed, it’s the need for smoke detectors. They aren’t very expensive, and they do save lives.
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