Home Fire Safety
Time is of essence when it comes to fires at home. In just two short minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, an entire home can be engulfed in flames! With that said, it's important for residents and families to become familiar with how fire works, the main causes of home fires, and the various methods for fire safety. Fire safety awareness has resulted in a lower number of fire deaths in past years, but the number is still pretty high -- especially considering that residential fires are so preventable.
Staying safe from fires at home begins with you. Awareness alone is not enough; proper preventative action is crucial. Save your family from the trouble of having to deal with a fire at home, and a firefighter from risking his life running into your burning residence by taking action with our tips below.
Quick Fire Facts
- As one might imagine, ﬁre produces a lot of heat very quickly, and is more threatening than the flames themselves. During a ﬁre, room temperatures at home can be 100 degrees at ﬂoor level and get up to 600 degrees at eye level. If you inhale this scorching hot air, your lungs will be scorched and clothes will be melted to your skin!
- Don't underestimate the speed of fire! In under 30 seconds, a small flame can become a big fire. It also doesn't take very long for thick black smoke to fill a house, or for the house to become taken over by flames.
- At first, fire appears bright yellow-orange, but quickly turns into black smoke and total darkness.
- Inhaling the poisonous gases that are emitted from ﬁres will cause disorientation and drowsiness. If your system gets enough of it, it is extremely toxic. In fact, smoke & toxic gases kill people more than ﬂames do! Asphyxiation is the number one cause of fire deaths.
- 3 out of 5 deaths as a result of home fires occur in homes that do not have working smoke alarms installed.
- From 2010-2014, approximately 1 in every 338 households reported a house fire each year.
- U.S. firefighters responded to about 500,000 home structure fires in 2017. These fires resulted in 3400 deaths.
- Fires that start in the bedroom make up 51% of all fire fatalities.
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries.
- Every 24 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation.
5 Tips For Preventing Fire
- Install Smoke Detectors. The first step for preventing a residential fire is properly installing enough smoke detectors throughout your home. Smoke detectors should be installed on every floor of your home and close to any bedrooms. To make sure that the detectors are always in working order, you'll want to test them out once a month. Batteries in smoke detectors should be replaced once a year. Smoke detector manufacturers suggest that they should be completely replaced every 10 years. Do not disable any smoke detectors while cooking, as this can potentially result in tragedy.
- Install Fire Extinguishers. Once you've got the smoke detectors installed, it's time to make sure that you have fire extinguishers readily available throughout your residence. These will come in handy should you experience a small fire. Using a fire extinguisher will prevent you and your family from having to battle a bigger fire. Fire extinguishers should be kept in the kitchen, garage, and any workshop areas of your home. Similar to smoke detectors, ﬁre extinguishers should be checked regularly to ensure they are working properly.
- Teach Kids About the Dangers of Fire. Let's face it -- kids are curious. This is a good and bad thing, but when it comes to something life-threatening like ﬁre, curiosity can quickly turn into danger. Over 100,000 ﬁres are set every year by kids under 5 years old playing with lighters or matches. To avoid this from happening, it's essential to educate children about the potentially deadly consequences of playing with fire. Inform them to STOP, DROP, and ROLL if their clothes catch on fire in an emergency. Also, teach them about what ﬁreﬁghters do, and to not hide from them when they are in sight.
- Create a Plan for Escape.
Having a well thought out, organized plan is very important. Think about it -- the last thing you want to do during a fire is try to think rationally about what to do next to survive. Developing a plan for escape in advance will spare you some time (which is a huge deal during a fire).
Not only should you create a plan, you will also want to discuss it with your family members in detail so that everyone is on the same page should a ﬁre take place. The escape plan should include at least two escape routes from every bedroom. Everyone living at home should be familiar with basic home ﬁre safety procedures. This includes checking doors for heat before opening them, staying low on the ground to stay out of smoke, and knowing the closest way out. These little things can go a long way in saving lives during a blaze! Make digital copies of any valuable documents and records like birth certificates, and keep them in a safe place easily retrievable in the event a fire takes place.
In addition to creating a plan and talking about it, practice it. Fire drills are not only for grade school students -- they're a good reminder for everyone of all ages.
- Have a Family Communication Plan Set. Got the escape plan out of the way? Now it's time to plan out your family communication methods. Firstly, make sure that everyone knows how to call 9-1-1. In any emergency, it's important to ensure that everyone at home knows who to contact if they are not able to locate one another, or in any other instance. Spend some time to speak with family members about who to call and where to meet in such cases, to be extra prepared.
You might be thinking that these fire safety tips are common sense. However, it's easy to overlook them especially when busy and stressed about work, the holidays, and more. It's not uncommon that people lose track of even the most basic precautions. So whether you're reading this piece to gain informational knowledge or to get a very much needed reminder, know that you can never play it too safe when it comes to fire prevention at home. Taking the necessary measures will not only save a ton of hassle and your precious belongings, but also your loved ones!
Fire Prevention Checklist
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5257 County Road 77
Millersburg, OH 44654
PO Box 186
Berlin, OH 44610
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