Fall Fire Safety Tips
As the weather has cooled down and people have begun to heat their homes, now is a good time to review your home fire safety plans. Regardless of the time of year, fires pose a risk to people and property. It is important to remember that in just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. It only takes five minutes or less for a residence to be completely engulfed in flames.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says that there were an estimated 354,000 home structure fires during a recent five year period. These fires caused an annual 11,220 fire injuries and 2,620 fire deaths.
Over a period from 2013 to 2017, cooking fires were the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths. As the holiday season approaches, cooking fires are something everyone needs to be aware of and take steps to prevent.
How to Prevent a Fire
While we hope you never have to experience a fire, there are some steps you and your family can take to be prepared.
Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan
In the event of a home fire, every second counts. Twice a year, you should practice your family escape plan. Have two ways in and out of every room just in case one exit is blocked by fire or smoke. The second route may be out a window onto a neighbor’s roof, down a ladder, into a yard. Make sure that no windows are stuck and that screens can be taken out quickly. Make sure any security bars can be properly opened.
Practice making your way around the house in the dark and your eyes closed. Use only your sense of feel to guide you. Make sure your kids know not to hide from firefighters.
Check Smoke Alarms
Working smoke alarms save lives. Install both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms (or dual sensor alarms). Test batteries in the smoke alarms regularly. Replace batteries in alarms once a year. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Put them inside and outside sleeping areas. Replace an entire smoke alarm unit every ten years. Never disable your smoke alarm while cooking.
If a Fire Breaks Out
If a fire does start in your home, be sure to alert everyone in the residence as quickly as possible. Follow your escape plan and work to get everyone out of the home safety.
- Crawl low to the ground to avoid smoke inhalation.
- Before opening a door, feel the door and the doorknob. If they are hot, or of smoke is coming from under the door, leave it closed and find another way.
- When you open a door, do so slowly.
- If you cannot get to someone who needs assistance, call 911 and let firefighters help.
- Tell firefighters if there are any pets trapped inside the home.
- If you cannot get out of your home, close the door to the room you are in. Cover vents and cracks around the door. Stay where you are and signal for help at any windows with a flashlight or light-colored cloth.
- If your clothes catch fire, follow the old adage “Stop, Drop, and Roll.”