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The Red Cross recommends that families practice fire drills twice a year. “Test the smoke alarm test button, or yell “Fire” to alert everyone that they need to get out of the house.” We love this idea for two reasons. One, building that habit of thinking of escape when you hear that there is a fire is a great way to reduce the time wasted when fires happen. When a fire breaks out, most people think they have more time than they do to get out of the house. In reality, a fire doubles in size about every 10 seconds. So, we really don’t have much time at all. Now, the other reason we love this idea is that it gets the whole family used to hearing the sound of a fire alarm -- and they are practicing taking it seriously.
In the event of a house fire, panic is high. That is why creating those fire escape habits is so important. When we have that escape plan ingrained in our brain, it becomes second nature what we do when we hear that alarm. One piece of that is that everyone meets at the same place if possible. That can reduce confusion if someone is missing. If someone is not at the meeting point, they are most likely still in the building. Then, when firefighters ask, you can account for all persons or clearly share if anyone is missing and in need of immediate assistance.
From the youngest to the oldest in your home, make sure that every member understands how to dial 9-1-1 should a fire happen. You can also save valuable time if you have your address or directions to your house written down in a prominent location. This is especially imperative for people living in rural locations. In the city, an address is usually easy to follow; however, in the country, sometimes an address doesn’t quite cut it. If there are landmarks that could assist the fire department in finding your location, be sure that you have those written down clearly.
The reason we talk about all these different points is to save that precious time so everyone can be kept safe. When that alarm goes off, if you know your exits, you can make that split second decision that could save your life. Remember that windows are exits, too.
65% of all house fires happen in the kitchen. So, if you are grilling or deep frying or doing whatever you do when you cook, be sure that you are keeping an eye on that heat source. Also, remember: don’t put grease fires out with water.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Almost three out of five home fire deaths in 2012-2016 were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms (40%) or smoke alarms that failed to operate (17%).” Flames and heat aren’t the only aspects of fires that pose a threat. Smoke is deadly. Most fire-related deaths happen at night. Smoke alarms can help protect you from that happening. But, smoke alarms need to be tested so that they can be effective. Every month, test your smoke alarm to make sure it is in working condition.
We are very passionate about fire extinguishers and choosing the right fire extinguisher because we know that they can make all the difference when it comes to saving time and putting a fire out quickly. No matter what kind of fire extinguisher you have, the most effective way to put out a fire is to spray at the base of the fire. Fire burns in the shape of a V, so try to find that point of the base of the V if you can, or aim as close as you can find.
The reason we love our STOP-FYRE® fire extinguishers so much is that they are maintenance-free, and they are can be used more than once. With powder extinguishers, that powder needs to be loosened every month so that it doesn’t “coagulate” so to speak. Another thing is that once they are “opened,” they need to be all used up at once. You can’t save that fire extinguisher for your next fire. The “mouth” of it is already clogged up with that toxic, corrosive powder.
STOP-FYRE® is great because it’s lightweight and can be operated with one hand. We wanted a design that was easy enough for a child to use, because you never know who will need to act as the hero when a fire comes out. Many extinguishers weigh upwards of 30 pounds and require two hands to operate. In an emergency, we want to provide our people with a simple, intuitive tool that’s effective year after year. That’s why we created STOP-FYRE®.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase P-A-S-S before. Pull. Aim. Squeeze. Sweep. This is a great acronym to use when spraying a fire extinguisher. With STOP-FYRE®, we don’t recommend the "sweep" because our extinguishers work best with short targeted bursts (which saves you money because you use less agent).
With all these tips, we recommend that you and your family practice each aspect regularly. We said it before and we’ll say it again: time is your biggest enemy in the face of a fire. We like to think we have more of it than we do. When panic and fear creep in, our brain can become confused about the best way to proceed. That’s why we recommend building those habits so that we know exactly how to escape safely, even with that panic.