Have you asked yourself lately if your home is fire safe?
We see it in the news almost every day, a home is lost to a fire. And while it’s sad to see, we might not think too much of it if it doesn’t directly affect us. But that begs the question, what if it happened to you? In the case of such tragedy, a home and possessions can be replaced, but a life cannot.
Below are some steps you can take to ensure your home is as safe as possible.
Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and test them regularly
Let’s start with this question; When was the last time you checked to see if the smoke detector in your bedroom worked? Do you even have a smoke detector in your bedroom? According to www.safewise.com, bedrooms are the most common place for an electrical fire to break out.
But it doesn’t stop there. It’s recommended that you place a smoke detector in every room someone sleeps in and at least one in a central location on each level of your home. Take it one step further and install a smoke detector that can also detect deadly carbon monoxide, which has no scent. Dual smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are going for as little as $30 each on www.homedepot.com. That’s a small investment that can potentially save not only your life, but the lives of your family members as well. Another option is to contact your local fire department to see if they have any smoke detectors on hand at no cost to you.
Also, something to keep in mind; just because you have a smoke detector doesn’t mean it’s in working order. Batteries die and units need to be replaced over time. Take a few minutes to check all your smoke detectors a couple times a year (a general rule of thumb is to check when we spring forward and fall back for Daylight Saving Time) to make sure they’re in working condition. Many units also include a “test” button.
Keep a fire extinguisher on hand
Depending on the magnitude, fire can spread rapidly and sometimes it’s best to get yourself to safety and leave the rest to the professionals. But in some cases, having a fire extinguisher on hand can stop a minor fire from turning into a catastrophic fire. We found fire extinguishers for as little as $20 on www.homedepot.com.
Of course, use your best judgment to determine if the fire is out of your control. Don’t put your life in jeopardy just because you have a fire extinguisher and want to take things into your own hands. As we mentioned above, possessions can be replaced, human lives cannot.
Create a fire escape plan
Fires don’t work around your schedule. They can break out at the most inconvenient times, including in the middle of the night when you and your family are fast asleep. They can spread quickly, leaving little time to get to safety. So, take a few minutes to gather the family and create a fire escape plan. Again, this isn’t something we want to even imagine happening, but being prepared for the worst could make all the difference.
Head over to https://www.nfpa.org//-/media/Files/FPW/Educate/2019/FPW19Grid.pdf for a helpful checklist to reference when creating your personalized plan.
Keep your electronics and appliances maintained and in good, working order
Everything gets old, worn, and needs maintenance over time, including electronics and appliances. For example, it could be something as small as a cracked or frayed lamp cord or a full lint trap in your dryer that can spark a blaze. The National Fire Protection Association notes that faulty or damaged wiring causes 69 percent of electrical fires. If you happen to notice that the cord to one of your electronics looks frayed, consider replacing the cord or the electronic itself. Don’t hope for the best in this situation, expect the worst.
Be Aware When Cooking
We all have to eat, and in most cases mean we have to do some cooking. With all of life’s little distractions, including pets, kids, and everything in between, it’s easy to take your eyes off the stove for a moment. But those few seconds is more than enough time for a fire to break out. Some tips include never leaving food cooking on a stove top unattended, turn pot handles inward so they can’t be bumped into or easily grabbed by children, keep any sort of clothing away from the fire, and be sure that no flammable objects are too close to the hotplate(s) such as, oven mits, paper products, cleaning supplies, etc.
Also, be sure that your oven is free of any large food particles that may have fallen to the bottom. Along with the pungent burning smell that will hit you as soon as you open the oven door, these food particles can also catch fire.
Keep Your Eye On Open Flames Such As Candles And Fireplaces
Who doesn’t love lighting a nice candle to freshen up your home? Or maybe you enjoy a nice and toasty fire in your fireplace during the winter months. There’s nothing wrong with either! But you’re going to want to keep an eye on those open flames. All it takes it one stray spark to escape to cause a fire.
Be sure to check that all candles are clear of anything that can easily catch fire including clothing, furniture, and other flammable items.
With a fireplace, be sure you have a door between the fireplace and your flooring. When you dispose of the ashes in the fireplace, be sure to place them in a metal container meant for ashes and give them time to cool down.