A fire can bring severe consequences for a homeowner: thousands of dollars in property damage, the loss of belongings, and a potential loss of life. Once a fire starts in your home, you may have little to no time to get to a safe location. However, there are many steps you can take to protect your family's well-being.
1. Make sure your smoke alarms are in working condition. Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month to ensure the batteries are working. You should have smoke alarms on every floor of your home, in all bedrooms and near all sleeping areas.
2. Have a fire contingency plan. Practice fire drills with others in your home. If you have young children, make sure they are aware of all the exits in your home or building. Have a previously agreed-upon meeting place near your home that your family can evacuate to.
3. Take extra care in the kitchen. The kitchen can be the most dangerous room in the house, as it is typically stocked with appliances that can cause devastating fires. Never leave any food on the stove or in the oven unattended. Also, keep all flammable material away from open flames or any extremely hot surfaces.
4. Candles and incense are very common fire starters. They should be placed far away from curtains, blankets or towels and checked on intermittently. Space heaters, heat lamps or any other high-powered light source should also be kept away from any flammable material.
5. Properly maintain your heating and cooling systems. Clean chimneys and fireplaces frequently, and change filters when they get too dirty. Temperature control systems should be inspected by a certified professional at least twice a year, as they can cause a fire if they malfunction in any way.
6. Electrical fires make up a large percentage of reported fires in the home every year. It is very important that you practice proper electrical safety:
- Periodically check on outlets to make sure they are not overloaded (Never use multiple power strips or surge protectors together!)
- Do not use any cords that are stripped or frayed.
- Do not place cords underneath rugs or near water.
- Cover your outlets if you have young children.
- Do not attempt to fit three pronged plugs into two pronged outlets by tampering with the plugs in any way.
Thousands of people die in fire disasters every year. Many, if not all of these disasters can be prevented. All it takes is a few steps to ensure that you and your family are ready in the event of a fire.