10 Home Fire Prevention Tips
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics, with data coming from 2014-2018, US fire departments responded to an average of 353,100 home structure fires per year. The NFPA also found that over a quarter of all reported fires from 2014-2018 occurred in homes. And, more than three quarters of civilian fire deaths and nearly three quarters of civilian injuries were caused by home fires. This data also showed that while cooking is a leading cause of home fire injuries, smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths. These statistics are startling and show a great need for home fire safety education.
It is important to practice the following fire safety tips to make sure that your home, especially your living room, is safe. There are many sources to find fire safety information for your home including the NFPA website. You can also check with your local fire department for their fire safety tips.
Here are ten tips for preventing fires in your home.
- The most important starting point for fire safety in the home is to have a fire escape plan that everyone knows and understands. There should always be two escape routes from each room including doors and windows. Practice the escape plan to make sure that everyone, including young children, knows what to do in an emergency situation. Set a pre-designated meeting point outside and away from the house to meet after escaping the fire. This will allow your family to take a “headcount” and inform the fire department if anyone is missing and might need to be rescued.
- Make sure that there are properly working smoke detectors on every floor in the home. Change the batteries in the smoke detectors every year. The time change in the fall or spring are good times to change the batteries.
- Fireplaces are decorative, help to provide heat and create a cozy atmosphere in a home. But, they can easily be a catalyst for a fire. Place a metal or fireproof screen in front of a fireplace to protect the room from ashes. If your home has a chimney, make sure to have it cleaned at least once a year. Once the ashes have cooled, properly dispose of them in a metal container.
- Nearly half of living room fires are caused by careless smoking habits. Properly remove cigarette ashes in a sealed metal container. Do not dump the ashes in a regular trash can in the home.
- Keep all lighters and matches away from children.
- Do not place candles near fabric or drapery or other combustible materials. Do not leave candles unattended in a room and blow out the candles when you are leaving the room.
- Place objects, such as furniture or drapery, at least 3 feet away from a heat source such as a fireplace or a portable heater.
- Check for electrical hazards such as frayed or damaged wires. Replace any damaged wires as soon as possible. Also do not overload electrical outlets with too many appliances or extra cords.
- Do not run electrical wires under rugs or carpet. Also, do not attach electrical wires with staples to a wall. The staples could puncture the wire.
- Larger electrical equipment such as DVD players, TVs, and stereo systems need “to breath”. Do not place items on top or close to these types of electrical equipment.
Following these simple steps can protect your family in cases of a fire emergency in your home. Remember that your home is replaceable, but your family members are not. Take precautions to keep them safe.