If you own or rent your own home, then you should take measures to keep that home, your family and all your belongings safe from fires. Have you implemented a Home Fire Safety Plan? Do you know what to do in the event of a fire? Just as important, do the other members of your family know what to do?
Your foremost concern is the safety of your family – they cannot be replaced! Secondly, is your home and all of the tangible things that are also important to you. Although most objects you own can be replaced, do you really want to start over? By thinking ahead and having a home fire safety plan you can substantially reduce the risk of fire in your home or at the very least ensure your family stays safe in the event a fire does occur.
Compiling a home fire safety plan ensures that all members of the household take part to ensure optimal fire prevention measures are being followed and also equipping them with the proper safety procedures should a fire start in your home. You must ensure that your fire safety measures are always set up and operating properly. These measures could include fire escape ladders, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, planned exit routes and general fire prevention knowledge. Organize a time to run through a fire drill with the family and include different scenarios of fire location and escape routes; schools and businesses practice fire drills all the time – so why not at home too. Some fires may seem small and harmless, but no matter what kind it is, you must make every effort to prevent the worst from happening.
Here are some great fire prevention tips to get you started:
- Always keep a direct line of sight when you are cooking food, especially when it involves high heat.
- Protect your fireplaces using metal mesh screens.
- Keep candles away from curtains or stacks of paper, and always keep them in holders; don’t place them directly on furniture.
- Never use electrical devises that have frayed or worn cords.
- If you smoke, do it outside the house and when you’re ready to dispose of your cigarette or cigar, put it out or, better yet, run water over it just to make sure.
- Maintain a habit of checking all of your electrical installations. Ideally, you should bring in a licensed electrician from time to time to check your house for you.
- Unplug your electrical devices when you are not using them or you are away from home; leaving them on can cause them to overheat and cause a fire.
- Avoid overloading your electrical outlets and keep flammable objects away from them.
- Be sure to install fire extinguishers in possible problem areas like the kitchen, furnace and laundry rooms and also be sure everyone knows how to operate them. If faced with a fire, they won’t have time to read the directions!
- If you have a wood burning fireplace, have your chimney cleaned out at least once a year by a professional chimney sweeper.
- Always use common sense and caution when decorating for the holidays. Christmas time is great for entertaining with lots of candles and loads of lights everywhere but are you diligent in keeping your tree filled with water? Ensure the lights are turned off when you go out and if you have candles lit remember to blow them out before you leave the room. Instead of using real candles, try a great alternative; the battery operated flames that mimic a candle. Save your candles for decoration only!
- Make certain everyone in your household knows the dangers of placing items on your stove that don’t belong there. If you have a flat top stove, don’t use it as an extension of your counter top.Remember, protecting your home and family from fires requires knowledge, planning and involvement from every member in your family. Evaluate your fire safety procedures with your family. A good time to review your fire procedures would be when you test your smoke detectors. If you don’t think you will remember each month, then mark it on your calendar or put one of your kids in charge of reminding you (kids love being in charge of something).