Every year it is estimated that 4,000 Americans die in fires and approximately 25,000 people are injured. Most of these fires occur in ones home and during the winter months. For that reason, we should take steps now to make our home safer.
First, make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home. The larger your home, the more alarms you need. You should check these alarms monthly to make sure they are in working order and are dust free.
Secondly, you should plan an escape route with your family. It would also be a good idea for your family to act out this plan, especially if you have children. Remember to stay low to the floor when escaping a fire. Also before you open a closed door you should touch the doorknob to see if it is hot, if it is hot do not open it, fire could be raging inside that room. Also don’t forget the old drop and roll in case the fire jumps onto your body. You should also plan a meeting place for your family to gather outside, after everyone gets out of the house. And don’t forget to teach your family not to waste time calling for help while inside the burning house. Leave the call for when you are outside and safe.
You should also be in the habit of watching your appliances for unusual smells, shorts or sparks. Any of these are symptoms that indicate that the appliance is going bad and is not safe to operate.
Do not overload your electrical circuits or extension cords. And never place cords or wires under rugs or over nails.
You must take extra cautionary steps if you chose to use alternate heat sources this winter, too. They are blamed for many winter fires.
If you use any type of portable heaters, make sure that they have plenty of room. Do not allow anything to touch them and keep combustible items at least 3 feet away from them.
Fireplaces are nice and cozy. But make sure they are also safe by having their chimney cleaned annually. The buildup of cresote can ignite a chimney fire and it can spread quickly.
If you smell gas from any type of appliance, stove or hot water tank, do not turn on or off any lights or appliances, do not use a telephone inside, do not light any matches and put out all cigarettes and candles. You don’t want the gas to ignite and start a fire. Gas fires are extremely dangerous and deadly. Leave your home immediately, because the smell is a possible indication that you have a leak and the leak means you also have carbon monoxide within your house. After you leave your house, call your gas company so they can come out and access the situation for you.
For added safety, you could have sprinklers installed in your home. They can also increase the value of your home and lower your insurance rates.
Be sure to also teach your children that fire is not cool. It is not a toy. Teach them that fire is dangerous. Do not allow them to play with matches or cigarettes. It is estimated that 20,000 fires are started every year from curious children.
Yet, the most important step in fire safety is to use your head. Don’t take chances. Fire can not only damage your home. Fire can kill. Take the precautions now to prevent a casualty to your home and to your family, later.