Fire has become one of the most integral parts of our society. We as a society tend to forget just how dangerous fire is and the devastating effects it can have. Handling fire with a great deal of respect is of upmost importance and is the foundation of any all fire safety protocols.
Home related fires account for 80% of fire related deaths in America. Over 5,000 people a year are killed in residential related fires not to mention the 22,000 victims that are injured annually. Understanding the importance of fire safety can literally save your life and those around you. No one wants to be a statistic so be proactive and familiarize yourself with these tips.
Smoke alarms should be installed in every, and any building and as many rooms as possible, but don’t forget to maintain their batteries swapping them twice per year is a good practice. Children should never be allowed access to matches, candles and lighters. Candles can prove to be quite detrimental to a home’s safety and leaving them on at night as you sleep is neither wise nor good practice. The ghosts in your home may appreciate the smells your candles bring as you sleep but they don’t need them, nor is it worth losing your home. If you’re a parent or around children explain the danger these items can bring and ensure they are hidden in a safe place. The same goes for stoves, fireplaces and other appliances that produce a flame. This may seem obvious but severe injuries occur when we do not pay attention to details.
Adults who smoke should be careful to not dump the remains of ashtrays into a trash without inspecting the remains. It goes without saying that careless smoking is a major cause to fires in the U.S. Electrical fires can start when you least expect it so double check your homes outlets and make sure none are overloaded. Using a power strip will help you prevent outlet problems. Electrical cords should never be behind appliances that get very hot, like radiators. Running these chords under rugs can also cause them to overheat as electrical cords heat up with the transfer of electricity. Nailing electrical cords to moldings or walls can be a fire hazard and should be prevented.
Your stove should contain no flammable materials in its vicinity and should be monitored to ensure none get close. Cloths and flammable liquids will jump start a fire related accident rendering it uncontrollable in minutes and sometimes seconds. Portable room heaters should be placed away from drapes, furniture, bedding and anything else that is flammable. Your home should be removed of all excess oily rags, old papers, old mattresses and anything else that can feed a fire if it was to ever come. Work with your children to come up with a clear fire escape plan that will be remembered in emergency. Make the drills fun but informative so that they can learn something and understand just what to do when the time comes.
Many times fires occur when you are not there. Everyone gives their babysitters contact numbers and protocol to use in a variety of situations but too few of us inform them of what to do if a fire emergency erupts. This will give you a peaceful mind as you in enjoy your night, while conversely lowering the chances that your baby sitter freezes during an emergency. The last thing you want is an emergency to happen and though your kids knew the family fire plan, your sitter is running around the neighborhood with an ember on her head. Having recharged fire extinguishers in your home to some may seem like overkill but this simple tool can really “extinguish” a bad situation from getting worse.
Calling 911 should be done as soon as possible to prevent terrible damage from reaching your home. Your children should know the number and know the reasons to call it. Ensure your children know their address and know how to speak to a 911 operator, test them by playing a game where you act like the operator. Many local fire departments host courses in home fire safety for both adults and children. Call one near you and educate your home. Following steps like these and many more will help protect yourself and your family.
Melissa is a writer/blogger for Essential Fire Safety and focuses on family security and fire safety.