The National Fire Protection Association reports that there were nearly 370,000 home fires in the U.S. in 2013
(the most recent year for available data), and a fire safety plan can go a long way in helping to stay off this list.It should be noted that these numbers were not inflated by fire damage caused by wildfires; these were normal homes impacted by the everyday threats of fire we face every day. So, how do we prevent these fires from happening?Have a fire safety plan.
This doesn’t have to be as intense as it sounds; in fact, the simpler it is the more effective it will be. A few things to consider:- Map your available exits from each room and the house- Have an established meeting place outside that’s a safe distance away from the home- Know the location of your fire extinguishers- Create a fire prevention checklist (blow out candles, turn off burners, clean dryer lint filter, etc.)Keep your smoke alarms in working order.
Test your smoke alarms at least once a month and replace the batteries as needed. Most smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years.As part of your plan, make it clear that no one should hesitate about leaving the home if the smoke detector sounds
. Always exit as quickly as possible. If it’s a false alarm, it will become evident soon enough.Place your fire extinguisher near an exit and know how to use it.
Your back should always be to an exit when using a fire extinguisher, just in case it can’t get the job done. Spray low, slowly and evenly from side to side for best results.Check to make sure the needle is in the green on your fire extinguisher gauge and that the pull pin is intact. If so, then you know it’s ready to go. If your extinguisher has no gauge, consider updating it or having it checked out by a pro. Think about investing in a fire safe.
You never want to turn back for your valuables in the event of a fire, and keeping them in a fire safe will help blunt the temptation to do it.Many safes are rated to withstand heat
in excess of 1,500°F and can help protect things like photo albums, legal documents and other perishable personal items.Decide whether you need a fire ladder for upper floors.
A fire ladder can be a life saver, especially if you have dead-end rooms with only one exit on the upper floors.It might seem silly now, but it won’t if you ever have a fire. Go over these tips and your fire safety plan with your family and enjoy a little more peace of mind.