Home Fire Prevention Tips
- Check out all your appliances. If the chords are frayed or worn, have them replaced or buy a new appliance.
- No matter the age of your home, have your electrical panels inspected by a licensed electrician regularly. A professional should test the breakers, tighten wires to the breakers and check for any burn spots or corrosion.
- In your kitchen, establish “kid-friendly” zones that are a safe distance from appliances that pose a threat for children like ovens, burners and the stove top.
- Don’t leave your cooking projects unattended, especially when grilling, frying or broiling.
- When whipping up a meal, always have a cover nearby to place over a pan that might ignite.
- Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing when cooking; reaching over a stove top or other hot item could have bad results.
- When cooking outside, make sure you place grills a minimum of 10 feet away of flammable items such as patio furniture, siding, deck railings, shrubbery and low handing branches.
- Smoke outside.
- When you’re done with your cigarette, be sure to extinguish it completely by stepping on it, putting it in water or sand or rubbing it thoroughly into an ashtray.
- If you are an inside smoker, avoid smoking in a home where an oxygen tank is in use. Even if it is turned off, oxygen tanks can be explosive items. They allow fires to burn faster and hotter.
- Lastly, if you’ve been drinking or taking medication that makes you drowsy, one more cigarette while you’re getting in bed may seem like a good idea. It’s not! Don’t smoke in bed; the fire hazard is too great to risk.
Even if you do take every precaution to prevent a fire, it is still wise to prepare your family to respond quickly if one occurs.
Drills. We’ve all taken part in fire drills. You’ve done them at school. You’ve done them at work. Why not your home?
- At least twice a year, cover every inch of your home with your family and look for various exit routes. In each room, try to come up with two exit points so there is a back up if the main route is not usable due to smoke or fire.
- If windows serve as a potential exit, practice opening and closing them. In particular, check that screens are easily removed, bars do not prevent an exit and windows aren’t stuck.
- Also, look to see what is immediately outside the window… Does it lead onto the roof or a neighboring roof? Does it require a collapsible ladder?
- When you’re out of the home, establish a meeting spot for your family so no one gets lost.
- To even be better prepared for a potential scenario, run the exit route while wearing a blindfold; while fire brings light, the resulting smoke can make a room pitch black.
Alarms. With technology, alarms have made great advances.
- If you have someone with special needs in your home, be sure to purchase an alarm that works for them. Vibrating and/or flashing alarms are available.
- In your home, install both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms. You can also put in dual sensor smoke alarms, which include both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.
- For the earliest possible notification, make sure they are on every level of your home, including the basement.
- Whichever you choose, be sure to test the batteries ever month. Be sure to replace the batteries in hard-wired and battery-powered smoke alarms once a year.
- Every 8 to 10 years, it’s good to replace the entire alarm, per instructions from most manufacturers.
- It’s tempting sometimes to leave an alarm disabled (believe me, mine goes off every time I make bacon), but refrain. Avoiding the quick, small annoyance could lead to a tragic mistake.
I love helping people find the home of their dreams and want to do everything I can to make sure those dreams don’t go up in flames.