You can never predict when a fire will occur, but you can strive to be as prepared as possible. Dealing with a fire is not really part of anyone’s plan, but when a fire happens the best thing you can do is try to keep yourself and everyone around you safe. That’s where proper preparation and awareness come in. Being aware and informed of some common causes for fires in residential locations can actually make a huge difference.
Prevent a home fire with awareness: The key is to be informed and take the appropriate action.
Did you know that U.S. Fire Departments respond to a fire every 23 seconds on average? Out of those reported fires, a home fire is reported every 86 seconds, and the leading cause for home fires is related to cooking equipment.
Be prepared to be alerted: You need a smoke alarm.
Installing a smoke alarm in the kitchen, basement or attic, on each floor of the house, and in front of each bedroom can alert you when there’s a fire, which can give everyone in the house an opportunity to either put out the fire or seek safety from it. Make sure to also test your smoke alarms at least once a month to ensure they work well.
Keep an eye on anything that gives off heat: Be extra mindful in the kitchen!
If something gives off heat, then it can most likely start a fire. This is especially true in the kitchen where there can be a combination of cooking equipment. Make sure the stovetop, oven, toaster, and any other appliance is clear of anything flammable and make sure they are in a proper working and maintained condition before and after each use. Be mindful of other types of heating equipment including clothing irons, hair curling irons, and portable heaters. These can also start a fire that can quickly get out of control.
Be cautious with electrical wiring and electrical outlets
If you have an electrical issue call a professional. More than 25,000 electrical fires are reported each year according to the U.S. Fire Administration, so if you need electrical work done in your house make sure to get a professional electrician to do the work for you. Consider getting an electrical inspection if you are moving into a new home or if it’s been a while since you had one. The electrician will recommend any needed work or inform you the house is safe and nothing needs to be done.
Be wary of broken plugs, electrical cords, and overloaded outlets. If you have any of these then you need to fix them right away because these can cause an electrical fire. Avoid using broken plugs and fix any damaged electrical cords as soon as you notice them. Also, add surge protectors where possible and avoid overloading electrical outlets. Overloaded electrical outlets occur when too many items are plugged into the same outlet. Consider moving some appliances or devices around the room or to another location to avoid overloading an outlet.
Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it
Fire extinguishers help prevent a fire from growing and can save you a lot of money. Make sure to place the fire extinguisher in an easy to find location and make sure to not put anything in front of it to keep it easily accessible at all times.
Have a plan and share it with everyone
If you have kids in your house then it’s especially important to teach them how to stay safe in the event of a fire and it’s also important to make sure they know how to dial “911” in case of emergencies. Make sure to develop a fire emergency plan and share it with all household members to ensure every knows the plan. Keeping a printed version of the plan can also help everyone easily memorize it or follow it during an emergency.