House fires are responsible for over 2,500 deaths and around $7 billion in damages every year in the United States. Thanks to better fire safety awareness, these numbers are lower than they used to be. Use the following tips for fire safety at home to protect your family and your belongings.
1. Prevent Kitchen Fires
Cooking fires are the most common fires in the home. Make sure burners are turned off when you’re finished preparing dinner. Keep dishcloths and loose clothing away from burners. Never leave home with something cooking in the oven or on the stove, even for only a few minutes. Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen and learn how to use it.
2. Practice Space Heater Safety at Home
Some home fires happen due to the improper use of space heaters. Make sure anything flammable is at least three feet away from any heat source. Turn off space heaters while you sleep or when you’re away from home. Check to see that your space heaters have an automatic shut-off feature in case they are tipped over.
3. Check Chimneys and Fireplaces
If you use a fireplace, have your chimney inspected each year for creosote build-up. Only burn seasoned wood and follow directions on firestarter logs. As with space heaters, don’t leave the fireplace unattended. Completely extinguish the flames before leaving the house or going to bed.
4. Have your Furnace Checked
Hire a professional to inspect your furnace before cold weather hits. Change filters regularly and have air ducts cleaned to keep dust from accumulating.
5. Smoking and Fire Safety at Home
Smoking is a frequent cause of home fires. Avoid smoking in bed because ashes can quickly ignite bedding. Only allow smoking outdoors to reduce fire risk and improve indoor air quality. Make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished and never toss cigarettes or cigars on grass and leaves.
6. Preventing Electrical Fires
Check all of your electric appliances for frayed or damaged cords. Use tamper-resistant outlets, especially if you have small children. Don’t overload outlets with high wattage appliances and devices. To practice fire safety at home, contact an electrician if you notice sparking, frequently blown fuses, or flickering lights.
7. Be Careful With Candles
Candles are comforting and relaxing, but take care when using them. Only burn candles on a stable, fire resistant surface. Don’t leave lit candles unattended. Never burn candles while sleeping, and make sure all flames are extinguished before leaving the house.
8. Properly Store Flammable Liquids
Store gasoline, paints, adhesives, and other flammable liquids in a cool, dry place. High temperatures and static sparks can ignite the vapors. Keep lighters, matches, and other fire starters away from children.
9. Have Fire Safety Equipment and an Escape Plan
Having smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and an escape plan are lifesavers when it comes to fire safety at home. Test your smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice a year or as needed Work with your family to create a fire escape plan with a designated meeting place.