If you live in a rural area, then you know that it can take additional time for the fire department to reach you. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), the death rate by fire for rural communities is roughly twice the rate of the rest of the United States. The leading cause of rural structure fires is heating problems where as the leading cause of outside fires is an open flame. It is very important to be extra careful with your fire safety routines if you live farther away from emergency services. The US Fire Administration has many checklists and tips to help keep rural families safe. AKE Safety Equipment has a passion to help protect people from the dangers of fire. We believe that it is vital for our rural friends to understand fire safety rules to keep their families, homes, and businesses safe. Listed below are some of the vital fires safety tips for rural families to keep in mind.
- Maintain home heating systems by having chimneys and furnaces inspected annually. Remove branches that are hanging above and around the chimney.
- Have a fire safety and evacuation plan for your home. Install smoke alarms on every level of the home. Make sure that the entire family and guests know the evacuation plans and practice them monthly. Check the smoke alarms every month and replace the batteries at least one a year.
- Have the phone numbers for the local emergency services posted where everyone can see them.
- Make your home fire resistant. While it may not be practical, using fire protective roofing material like stone, brick and metal will help stop fires from spreading. Keep your roof clear of debris and branches. Install multi-pane windows to protect the windows from radiant heat.
- Keep tools for fire protection nearby such as a 100 foot garden hose, shovel, rake, ladder, buckets and a portable fire extinguisher. Make sure that water sources, such as hydrants and ponds are accessible to the fire departments.
- Use the landscape around your home or barn as fire defense. Keep the grass trimmed short up to 100 feet around your home. Within 30 feet of the home, keep bushes and trees thinner. Over 30 feet away, remove any dead wood, low tree branches and other debris that could be easy fuel for a fire.
- Store flammable material, liquids and chemicals in metal containers at least 30 feet from structures and the home.
- It is very important to follow all local burning laws and techniques. If you are doing a controlled burn, make sure to notify local authorities or obtain a burning permit.
- Fire extinguishers are made to extinguisher the FLAME. Once out, you need to break up the conditions (e.g. hat, oxygen, and the fuel source) that led to the fire (e.g. use dirt to smother the coals, break up the hay bale, etc.). Then, solve the overall problem that led to the fire (e.g. wash the combine, replace the bearing, etc.).