We all want to keep our family and property safe from dangerous, deadly fires. But do many of us take time to ensure that we, in fact, are safe? Take time to employ these 8 tips for residential fire safety to keep your loved ones and pets out of harm’s way.
Avoid Hazards – One of the best ways to prevent residential fires is to avoid certain habits and practices that can lead to blazes. A tried and true rule to always follow is to place all lighters and matches in high areas away from a child’s reach. Also use caution when burning candles in the home and teach your children that both matches and lighters are not toys to be played with.
Have a Plan – Have a plan for you and your family on what to do if a fire does occur. Make sure to vary the plan based on where the fire occurs and what type of fire it is. When you have your strategy in place purchase the needed safety tools (IE. fire ladder, fire extinguisher) and place them in the designated areas. You will also want a plan on how to practice your skills to maintain your fire tools such as when to perform a fire extinguisher inspection.
Practice Your Plan – Having a plan in place in the event of a fire is only half of the job. In order for your family to be safe, they must feel comfortable on executing the plan. Take time to practice a fake fire in the home so every family member can rehearse the plan. It may be beneficial to do varying scenarios so that different approaches can be made.
Inspect Your Equipment – Make sure to perform a fire extinguisher inspection on a regular basis to ensure it is in proper working order.
Hire a Chimney Sweep – Have your chimney swept by a professional on a yearly basis preferable before the heating season. Creosote can build up in the flue leaving your chimney vulnerable to a fire.
Educate Yourself – Educate you and your family on basic fire safety skills. There are many educational books geared to children that cover the topic empowering them to make wise choices in the event of a fire in the home.
Alarm Your Home – Always have both a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the home. Test both regularly and replace batteries as needed. Carbon monoxide detectors often have an expiration date. To help me remember when the date is approaching, I used a black permanent marker to write the date on the bottom of the unit facing the floor so anytime I look up I can clearly see if the unit is near expiration.
Be Smart – Common sense can go a long way in overall fire safety in the home. Make sure you know the basics of how to protect you and your family from home fires. Also teach your children how to approach fire hazards using good judgement and practical knowledge.