One of the biggest fears any homeowner (or renter) fears is a fire destroying property and possibly ending someone’s life. Fire happens at times when people least expect it. Cooking accidents are the number one reason for house fires in the U.S., so you know that many home fires are preventable.
It is important to teach your children at young age what can cause fire, and what to do if the house catches on fire. People who do not know what to do when a fire starts are in the most danger. Animals and small children may hide instead of fleeing, which can lead to death.
This is something you should do with your family at least four times a year. You need to make a plan and give it a trial run. Fire drills are very important because when fire strikes, you may not be near your child and you want to know they know where to go and what to do.
With your family by your side, walk through your entire home or apartment and discuss escape options in each room. Explain to children how to check doors for heat and how to get out of windows. For second floor, or higher, show them how to use safety ladders and fire escapes.
A meeting place is very important. Have a place far enough away from the house to be safe, but close enough so that everyone can get there quickly. That way, it will be immediately obvious is someone is missing and the firefighters can be told that someone might be in the house and even where they might be found.
Extinguishers and Alarms
Check your fire alarms at least once a month to be sure the batteries are still good and the alarm is working. Have them near sleeping spaces and have at least one on each floor of your home. This is one case where more is better, so put them where you think they will best serve your family. It’s always important to have one in the kitchen, where many home fires begin.
Fire extinguishers are easy to use and should be in every home. If you’ve never used one, make sure you give one a trial run. It’s important to be able to react quickly if there is a fire, rather than fumbling around trying to read directions.
Prevention is the key to reducing the risk of fire. The following tips should be shared with family members and taught to young children as soon as they are able to grasp the concept.
– Never leave any open flame unattended. This would include fireplaces and candles.
– Keep counters near your stove clear of clutter.
– Always keep fire extinguisher close at hand when deep-frying anything.
– Be extra diligent that cigarettes are extinguished properly and never smoke in bed.
– Keep lights and matches out of reach of children at all times.
– Have your heating system checked each year by a professional.
– If you use space heaters, keep a good buffer on all sides so the heat does not ignite materials nearby.
– Keep lamps away from curtains.
– Never leave cooking food unattended.
– Check your home for frayed wiring on a periodic basis.
Having a plan and knowing what to do are the best ways to up your family’s chances of surviving a fire. You may not be able to avoid a house fire simply because some things are out of your control, but you can lower your risk and educate your family to keep them safe.