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Fire Safety Checklist: 25 Steps to Keep Your Family Safe

Posted: March 19, 2014

In the U.S., a home fire is reported, on average, every 80 seconds, and someone dies from a house fire once every 204 minutes (3 hours, 24 minutes). The American Red Cross responds to around 74,000 disasters across the U.S. each year, and approximately 93% of them are fire related. In fact, fires kill more Americans every year than all other natural disasters combined. People from every background, socioeconomic level, and geographical region are affected. Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of your family, so it's essential that you take the steps necessary to help keep your home and family safe from fire.

Here are 25 fire safety tips:

  1. Have smoke detectors on every level of the house, including the basement. Smoke detectors should be located near all sleeping areas.
  2. Have a family fire escape plan in place, and make sure every family member knows what to do in the event of a house fire.
  3. Select a designated meeting place outside your home where everyone is to meet in the event of a house fire.
  4. Turn off all space heaters when vacating a room and at bedtime.
  5. Locate space heaters three feet away from anything flammable.
  6. Only choose portable heaters that are UL listed.
  7. Refill kerosene heaters outside.
  8. Have your chimney inspected annually, and cleaned when your chimney sweep determines that a cleaning is necessary.
  9. Practice your family fire drill:
    1. Discuss the plan with all family members.
    2. Start with everyone in their rooms, pretending to sleep.
    3. Sound the smoke alarm so that everyone knows what it sounds like.
    4. Practice using main escape routes first. Quickly and calmly go to your designated meeting place outside.
    5. Try to get everyone to the family meeting place in under two minutes.
    6. Have one or more family members pretend to call 911 and make sure they know what to tell the dispatcher.
  10. If you have a working fireplace, make sure you have a sturdy metal screen to place in front of it.
  11. Keep matches and lighters secure and out of reach of children.
  12. Never leave your cooking unattended.
  13. Keep pot holders within easy reach of the stove.
  14. Replace smoke alarm batteries every year.
  15. Replace smoke alarms themselves every 10 years.
  16. Test smoke alarms every month.
  17. Make sure escape windows open easily.
  18. Make sure your house numbers are clearly visible from the street.
  19. If you install security bars over windows, make sure they have a quick-release mechanism.
  20. Have at least one ABC powder fire extinguisher on every level of your home and learn how to operate it.
  21. Inspect fire extinguishers monthly to make sure:
    1. They're in their designated places
    2. They're not obstructed
    3. Safety seals aren't missing or broken
    4. There is no physical damage, corrosion, or leakage
    5. Pressure gauge readings are where they should be
    6. Operating instructions are legible and facing outward
    7. They are full (weigh or lift to make sure)
  22. Do not run extension cords under carpets or across doorways
  23. If there are smokers in the family, each room should have at least one large, non-combustible ashtray.
  24. Keep your stove, oven, and broiler free from grease build-up.
  25. Consider the fire safety benefits of a monitored home security system.

Home security systems are increasing in popularity as people discover how affordable and effective they are. They not only help protect your family from break-ins, but from fire as well. Whenever smoke or fire is detected in your home, your monitored home security system automatically notifies the monitoring center, where personnel will attempt to contact you, and will summon emergency responders. Today's monitored home security systems install quickly and are mostly wireless, so installation won't disrupt your schedule or your décor. If you'd like to know more, call the security experts at Protect Your Home today.