Preventing Home Fires: 11 Steps to Prevent a Home Fire
A residential fire can change your life in a matter of minutes. Fortunately, a few common-sense steps can limit fire damage or even prevent fires all-together. The major causes of fire damage each year are cooking, heating equipment, and smoking, and there are thousands of injuries and deaths as a result. Most of these could be avoided. These steps will help in preventing home fires.
What Causes a Fire in Your Home
Fire requires three elements: oxygen, an ignition source, and fuel. Oxygen is all around us and your home contains plenty of items that can serve as either an ignition source or fuel. Areas like the kitchen, the garage, and storage rooms can all contain a house fire waiting to happen.
In addition to areas in your home, think about your daily habits. Do you regularly leave the kitchen when you have a gas burner on? Do you smoke in your living or bedroom? When it is cold outside, do you use a space heater or electric blanket? Take the time to consider your personal habits and living area and those few moments to plan might make a huge difference in preventing home fires.
11 Steps to Preventing Home Fires
1. Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms
Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and near all sleeping areas. Make sure everyone knows what the alarm sounds like and test them once a month. Change the batteries every six months and replace any alarm that is more than 10 years old.
2. Have a Fire Extinguisher on Every Floor
In order to prevent home fires from spreading, you should have at least one fire extinguisher on every floor. One fire extinguisher should be in the kitchen and all fire extinguishers should be easily accessible. Avoid storing them in cabinets or closets. In addition to the kitchen, consider having a fire extinguisher next to your dryer, in the garage, and in the hallway nearest to your bedrooms.
3. Create a Fire Evacuation Plan
Have a written fire escape plan. Review the fire evacuation plan with everyone in your home. Hold fire drills at least twice each year to ensure everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire.
4. Be Cautious in the Kitchen
Keep your kitchen clean and uncluttered, and exercise caution when cooking or performing other duties there. Do not leave cooking pots or pans alone for any length of time, and do not cook when you are sleepy, drowsy, or fatigued. Make sure that gas stoves or oven have been turned off when not in use.
5. Use Space Heaters Properly
When using space heaters, be sure to keep them at least three feet away from any flammable materials like drapes, curtains, or carpeting. Again, do not leave them unattended and avoid using them while you are sleeping.
6. Avoid Smoking When Tired
Do not smoke in bed, especially if you are sleepy, but it’s a good rule not to do it in any form at any time. Use large ashtrays that don’t tip over, and soak all cigarette butts and ashes before dumping them in a wastebasket.
7. Keep Matches Out of Reach of Children
Keep matches and lighters in a high place, out of reach of children. Likewise, do not allow children to play with gas-powered burners or other dangerous items.
8. Check Electrical Cords
Keep electrical cords out of well-traveled walking areas. Avoid pinching them up when trying to keep them behind furniture or stretching them around corners. Frayed or damaged wiring should be replaced immediately, as they can short and start a home fire. You should never daisy-chain extension cords or max out electrical sockets as well.
9. Burn Candles Safely
When using candles, keep them away from any other flammable materials. Put them out when you leave the room and under no circumstances should they be left burning overnight. Make use of a stable candle holder that will not tip over or catch on fire.
10. Clean Dryer Lint Traps
Keep lint cleaned out from appliances, and make sure the water heater combustion chamber covers are in place. Mark a combustible free zone 3 feet away from your water heater with masking tape.
11. Properly Store Flammable Materials
Store flammable materials away from sources of heat, flames, and sparks. This includes fuels, oil, lubricants, and oil-based paints and stains. Ideally, you should store flammable items in airtight containers.
What To Do If You Have A Fire In Your Home
Use common sense if you have a home fire. For smaller fires, use baking soda or a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. If the fire is larger, immediately call your local fire department. In the aftermath of a fire, do not approach your home – even if the flames are out. Flare-ups are hazardous and the aftermath of a house fire is very dangerous if you are uninformed. Contact a local fire restoration company if you need help repairing a home or have questions about what to do after a fire. Other good resources are civic centers, the fire department, and the American Red Cross.
If you have fire damage or smoke stains after a fire, call Restoration Local 24/7 at 1-888-443-3110 for a free estimate.