How to Prevent Home Fires: 12 Tips to Stay Safe
According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), there were 1,345,500 reported fires in the United States in 2015. These fires resulted in 3,280 civilian deaths, 15,700 civilian injuries, and $14.3 billion in property damage. Take some time to re-evaluate the safety of your home and consider these tips to help prevent home fires:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Test alarms once a month and replace batteries twice a year. An easy way to remember to change batteries is to do it when you change your clocks for daylight saving time.
- Create a fire escape plan and establish two exits from each room. Practice the plan with your family and establish a meeting spot outside the home.
- Ensure that all family members know how to contact each other in case of an emergency by creating a family communications plan.
- Every household member should learn the stop, drop, and roll technique in case their clothes catch fire.
- The kitchen is where most home fires start. Never leave the oven or stove unattended when cooking. Stay alert while frying, broiling or grilling food and turn off the cooking appliance if you have to leave the kitchen.
- Smokers should smoke outside and choose fire-safe cigarettes. Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated. Use big ashtrays and dip cigar butts in water before disposal.
- Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach and teach them about fire safety. Find out more children’s fire safety tips here.
- A stove or cook top is the most common cause of fires started by pets. Remove stove knobs to prevent pets from starting fires.
- Never leave candles unattended – extinguish them when you leave the room or go to bed. Burn candles in sturdy candle holders and place them on horizontal, stable, and heat-resistant surfaces. Avoid using candles when the power is out. Use battery-operated flashlights instead.
- Have your heating equipment and chimneys inspected and cleaned by a professional every year. Clean the inside of your stove periodically using a wire brush.
- Always supervise electric heaters while operating and unplug them when leaving the room or going to sleep. Place heaters on a stable, horizontal surface.
- Have the electrical wiring in your home checked. Replace frayed or damaged cords or wires and make sure cords are not run under carpets or rugs. Don’t overload extension cords or outlets. Plug large appliances directly into wall sockets.
- Store combustible substances, such as gasoline, in a container designed for that purpose. Keep the containers outside the home in a detached garage or lawn shed.
In the unfortunate event that your home suffers fire damage, you need to act quickly and contact your insurance agent immediately. Learn here what questions to ask your insurance agent after a home fire. For professional fire damage repair or smoke remediation services, contact your local PuroClean office.