Home fire safety is nothing to take lightly. Fires result in damages and injuries. You need to know what to do to prevent fires, and what to do if one does happen. Here are 15 tips for fire safety in the home:
1. Be Careful with Candles
Candles are a huge, fire hazard. Using battery operated candles are a great way to keep the charm, without the hazard. However, if you want to use a traditional candle, be sure to set it somewhere that it will not be accidentally knocked over.
2. Maintain a Safe Fireplace
The fireplace should have a cover on it to prevent embers and ash from coming out of it. You should have your chimney checked by professional annually, to ensure there is no blockage or heavy buildup of soot.
3. Don’t Overload Power Strips
Power strips are used for different kinds of electronics, but be careful with them. Plugging in too many devices into one power strip, or “daisy-chaining” power strips, can cause it to fail, or in the worst cases, start a fire.
4. Keep An Eye Out for Sparks
If there are sparks that are coming from electrical outlets, they should be checked immediately by an electrician. Turn off power to that outlet in the fusebox, and do not use it until it has been approved by an electrician.
5. Be Mindful While Cooking
Whenever cooking, keep anything flammable away from the burners. Always turn them off after using them. Also, never pour water onto a grease fire, as this will flash into a fireball. Instead, cover the pot/pan with a metal lid to cut off the supply of oxygen, turn off the stove, and wait for the fire to die.
6. Use the Right Light Bulbs
Homeowners need to check what wattage each light fixture recommends. This will be written on the socket, or on the fixture. Check to see if lightbulbs are hot, if they are, you may be using a lightbulb that is not rated for that fixture, or the wiring may be faulty.
7. Know Your Fire Extinguishers
There should be at least one fire extinguisher in a home. Everyone in the house should know how to use them properly. Here are the three types of fire extinguishers, and what to use them on:
- A Extinguishers: This type is effective against ordinary combustibles. Items like wood, cloth and paper. This can be useful to have near a home office, or bedroom.
- B Extinguishers: This type is used for flammable liquids/gases like oil or natural gas. This should be in your pantry, or otherwise near the kitchen.
- C Extinguishers: These contain a chemical agent used for electrical fires. Faulty wiring or outlets that cause sparks can be put out with this type of extinguisher.
- Getting a portable extinguishers for your car/boat is also a good idea to keep you safe when on the go.
An important note: All of these extinguishers are great for small fires, but if the situation is out of control, don’t risk your life. Escape the house and call 911. Don’t try to be a hero. Things can be replaced, lives cannot.
8. Inspect Appliances
An important part of home fire safety is making sure that your appliances are working properly, especially as they get older and begin to age. This goes for anything that uses electricity. If there are shorts in them, they should be discarded immediately.
9. Operate Your Dryer Safely
Locate the lint filter on your dryer and ensure that it is regularly cleaned. This may need to happen after every cycle, depending on the size of the load. Instruct other members in the home to do so also. Clogged dryer hoses cause many house fires annually, and should be checked every year. This is the silver hose coming out the rear of the dryer. This can be done yourself, or by an HVAC specialist.
10. Smoke Safely
Make sure that cigarettes are put out completely before emptying the ashtrays if there are smokers in the home. Sometimes the embers can still be hot enough to start a fire. Do not throw away the ash unless you are certain it is not warm still.
11. Radiators And Gas Heat
If a home has a radiator, nothing should be put on top of it. You should make sure that it is working properly, and the gas line is firmly connected. If you own a natural gas or propane heater, know what a gas leak smells like and know what to do:
- A gas leak smells like rotten eggs. If you smell this around the heater, discontinue use immediately and check the gas supply after it cools.
- Do not touch any electrical outlets or turn on or off lights. This can cause a spark which could ignite the gas.
- If you are unable to locate the source of the gas leak, get everyone out of the house immediately. Call 911 for emergency help.
- An annual checkup is recommended for gas heaters and radiators. You should have a professional look at it.
12. Keep Fire Starters Out of Reach
You should store their lighters and matches out of reach of children. Anywhere that is protected from a child’s reach is a good place for them to be stored.
13. Position Electric Heaters Safely
If you use an electric heater, you need to be careful where you put it. It should be on a solid surface that is up off of the floor, and away from flammable materials. Places like ceramic tile, or a fireplace hearth are good choices.
14. Fire Alarms
Fire alarms detect smoke and fire, and they are made to be loud enough to wake people up if they are asleep. These are great for fire home safety, and required in most areas. The batteries should be checked annually. An easy way to remember to do this is to change them the day after a major holiday each year.
- You should have them spread around the house, and especially in the kitchen. Hallways make excellent places to put them too.
- You should know how to change the battery. There will directions with the fire alarm, or you can look up your model online for instructions.
15. Have a Fire Escape Plan
If worse comes to worse and a fire starts in your home, all members of the household should know what to do in case of a fire. Here some of the things that should be in your safety fire plan:
- Exit Locations: Everyone in the home should know the escape plan, and where to meet once you escape the house. Having an annual fire drill is a great way to stay prepared.
- Safety Bag: Have a safety bag that includes snacks, bottled water, medicine, a list of medications you need, a flashlight, and a cell phone. If you need to get out in a hurry, having this bag ready ensures that you will be okay if you are forced to escape your home.
- Children and Pets: Make sure that children and pets can be cared for in case of a fire emergency. Designate someone that will get them to safety. You can also purchase a sticker for your front door that shows how many people/pets live in the house. This will greatly aid firefighters to ensure that everyone is safe.
Home fire prevention is important for your home’s fire safety. Use these home fire safety tips to prevent a fire from devastating your home. If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a house fire, Restor-It is a company that offers a fire damage cleanup service. Restor-It is based in Marietta, GA and they are ready to serve.