Every year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sponsors Fire Prevention Week. This year’s campaign theme is “Look. Listen. Learn.” In keeping with this theme, The Champion Firm wanted to share a few fire safety tips that you can apply at home. This advice will help you avoid an accidental fire in your home, and it’ll help you get safely out of your home if a fire does break out.
Check Smoke Alarms Regularly to Stay Safe In Your Home
How many smoke alarms does your home have? If you’re like a lot of people, you have one smoke alarm in the kitchen, and you may have one other alarm in a hallway. To ensure maximum safety, you should really have a smoke alarm in each bedroom of the house and one outside of each sleeping area (e.g., in the hallway). You should also ensure that you have at least one smoke detector on every floor of the house, even in the basement and attic.
Most smoke alarms will alert you if their batteries are running low, but it’s still a good idea to test them at least once a month to ensure that they’re working properly. If your smoke alarms are older, you may want to consider replacing them with newer models that test for both smoke and carbon monoxide in the air. Newer smoke alarms also have fewer false alarms and will go off under a number of different fire conditions.
If anyone in your home is hard of hearing or deaf, make sure that you have smoke alarms that include strobing lights as well as audio alerts. If you keep up-to-date alarms in your home and check them regularly, you’ll be more likely to be alerted to a fire with plenty of time to get your family safely out of the house.
Practice Safe Cooking
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), Cooking fires are the number one cause of fires in homes in the U.S. We certainly don’t want to discourage you from cooking at home for yourself and your family, but we do want to encourage you to practice safe cooking habits.
First of all, if you’re overly tired or you’ve consumed alcohol, stick to foods that don’t require the oven or stovetop for preparation. When you do use the stove, stay in the kitchen and keep a watchful eye while boiling, frying, broiling, or grilling foods. If you have to leave the kitchen for a bit, just turn off the stove until you return.
If your recipe calls for roasting, baking, or simmering, check on these items regularly. This way, you’ll avoid overcooking your food, and you’ll greatly reduce the risk of a small grease fire. If a grease fire does occur, and you believe you can fight it, remember to smother the flame instead of trying to douse it with water. And always keep flammable items away from hot surfaces.
Have an Escape Plan
If a fire does break out in your home, your safety is paramount. You want to ensure that, no matter what else happens, you and your family are safe. That means, if a fire does occur anywhere in your home, you must have a clear plan and escape route.
To create your plan, draw a map of your home, including all rooms and all available exits. Ideally, every room should have two exits. If you have upstairs bedrooms with only one door, you may want to invest in fire ladders to allow you and your family to escape out of windows. This way, if a fire is blazing in the doorway, you can still get out safely.
After you’ve determined two exits from every room in the house, identify a place away from the house where your family should meet in case of a fire. Make sure that everyone in your family knows where to meet if a fire breaks out. This could be mailbox, a large tree in the front or back yard, a light pole, or any other easily identifiable landmark that’s sufficiently far enough away from the house for safety.
After you create your escape plan, practice executing it with your family. Go over the plan several times, using different exits and escaping from different rooms. Practice until the plan is second-nature, and everyone is confident about what they need to do to get out safely.
And don’t forget your pets! If you have any furry friends in the house, keep them in mind as you make your plans. Identify who will be in charge of getting pets out, and make sure that your kids know that their first job is to get themselves out safely and that you (or your spouse, an older child, another adult, or first responders) will take care of Fido and Spot.
Above all else, if the smoke alarm is going off in your home, you and your family should all get out of the house and stay out. No one should re-enter the house after leaving, even to try to get other people or pets out. Call 9-11 immediately and let the fire department take care of getting everyone else out safely and handling the blaze.
If you’ve been injured in a fire due to someone else’s negligence, please don’t hesitate to contact us at The Champion Firm today. We’re here to help victims and their loved ones get the compensation they deserve.