A residential fire is a devastating event that can quickly destroy one’s home, precious memories, and may even take the lives of loved ones. For this reason it is important for people to routinely practice fire safety measures. Fire safety often involves steps or rules that are designed to prevent fires and help save lives in the event that one occurs. While it is the responsibility of adults in the home to establish, teach, and enforce these safety rules, children must also be aware of their role in keeping the home safe and fire-free. Some safety tips are specifically meant for certain areas in the home, such as the kitchen for example. Other safety steps are more general and should be followed regardless of where a person may be in the home.
A FEW FIRE FACTS
- Fires that occur in homes without functional smoke alarms account for sixty-five percent of fire deaths.
- Removing fire hazards is the most effective method of ensuring the safety of one’s family.
- Fire escape plans and smoke alarms save lives when practiced routinely.
KITCHEN FIRE PREVENTION
- Never walk away from the kitchen while food is frying, grilling or broiling.
- Avoid leaving home when food items are in the oven baking or roasting.
- Move all flammable items away from the stove and heating elements. This includes paper towels, pot holders and dish towels.
- Never allow pets to jump on counters or other cooking surfaces where their fur can catch on fire or they can accidentally disrupt a surface.
GENERAL FIRE PREVENTION STEPS
- Avoid using items that are powered by gasoline, charcoal, or natural gas anywhere inside the home. This can cause a fire and/or release dangerous carbon monoxide in the air.
- Check portable heaters to ensure that they are turned off before going to sleep at night or prior to leaving a room unattended.
- Move heaters and other excessively hot items away from anything that is potentially flammable.
- Keep both children and pets away from flammable items such as lit candles.
- Discuss fire with children, and explain why it is dangerous. Also, explain things that they are not allowed to do, such as playing with matches.
- Avoid smoking when tired, and never smoke in bed.
- Purchase fire alarms for every level in the home.
- Inspect and test all fire alarms monthly.
- Annually replace fire alarm batteries. Replace sooner if the alarm warns of a low battery by chirping.
- Buy new fire alarms once every ten years.
- Don’t confuse fire alarms with carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide alarms do not warn of fire and have a different sound.
- Educate all family members about the alarms in the house. They should recognize what they sound like and what to do when one goes off.
CREATE AND PRACTICE A FIRE ESCAPE PLAN
- Create a plan that has two escape routes per room.
- Designate a safe place for family members to meet away from the home in the event of a fire.
- Instruct each member of the family on how to call 911, stay low during a fire, and if caught on fire, how to stop, drop, and roll.
- Conduct family fire drills at least twice a year.
IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE
- Use fire extinguishers only if properly trained, the fire department has been alerted, and the fire is small and contained.
- Check all door handles for warmth prior to opening them. Never open a door that feels warm or hot to the touch.
- If blocked by fire, keep the door closed and place a wet towel under it. Wave a light or brightly colored object out of an open window for assistance.
- If there are no flames blocking the escape path, stay beneath the smoke by crawling to safety.
Article source: Consumer Protect