Fire Safety Tips
When thinking about home security, an emphasis should be placed on the importance of fire prevention, one of the leading causes of injury and death in the home, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Additionally, the CPSC reports that fire departments respond to over 500,000 fires every year, many of which could easily have been prevented with some simple home security tips.
If you're preparing a fire prevention plan, consult this brief home fire safety checklist to make sure your house is as safe as possible.
Check Smoke Alarms
Unfortunately, over 50% of deaths caused by fire (either by flames or smoke inhalation) occur in homes without any smoke alarms, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Figures from the CPSC show more than 4,000 people die in home fires each year in the United States, many of which might have been prevented had the house been equipped with adequate smoke alarms. At a minimum, a home should have one smoke alarm per floor, as well as one in each bedroom and kitchen. You should check your smoke alarms at least once a month and replace any dead batteries — most smoke alarms will begin to beep intermittently when their batteries are getting low. In any event, you should replace all batteries in your smoke alarms once a year, and the alarms themselves every ten years.
- The CPSC identifies heaters, stoves, and cigarettes as some of the most common causes of home fires.
- Never smoke in bed — smoking in bed is one of the major causes of accidental fire deaths cited by the CPSC.
- If you have small children in the house, make sure all matches and lighters are always kept out of reach.
- Wood stoves and space heaters should be at least three feet away from combustible materials such as curtains, furniture, firewood, and bedding.
- In the kitchen, there should be no flammable items in storage spaces above the stove, and wear tight-fitting clothes whenever cooking on a range. Loose shirt sleeves can easily catch fire if you reach across the stove.
- When you are not using an appliance, turn it off and unplug it. This reduces the risk of an electrical fire and saves money on your electrical bill, too.
- Keep branches trimmed away from your house. Check to make sure if lightning struck any nearby trees, that they wouldn't be in the path of your home if it falls. A burning limb too close would also pose a threat to your home.
- Never leave candles burning overnight or in rooms where you are not spending time. And never, under any circumstances, leave home with candles still burning.
Have an escape plan in the event of a fire
Even if you have an ADT monitored home security system and follow all the recommended fire safety tips, the risk of a fire can't ever be fully eliminated. You and your family should have an up-to-date escape plan for getting out of the house as quickly as possible in the event of a fire, with routes from each room in the house to at least two exits, if possible. Escape plans should be rehearsed a few times a year at different times of the day. Educate your family on the safety techniques they should employ if there is a fire. These include: wrapping yourselves in wet towels, crawling through the home to avoid smoke inhalation, testing doorknobs for heat before grabbing them, etc.
Every home is different, and some fire safety tips can do more to help prevent fires than others. Most local fire departments hold occasional fire safety informational sessions and seminars; call your fire station to find out more about fire safety for you and your home.
Preventing Outdoor Fires
People often overlook the process of fire protection when it comes to the outside of their home. Countless hours are spent making the inside of the home fire safe. But, the outside of the home is an area that needs to be set up correctly to help ensure protection as well. Here are some tips on how to make the exterior of your house as safe as possible when it comes to fire.
If you live in a wooded area make sure that your home is at least 30 feet clear of the trees near your home. This will help prevent a fire from spreading from the woods to your home or from your home to the woods. You may need to adjust the distance based on the kinds of trees and how the dry the area where you live is.
These are extremely flammable. Make sure that they are disposed of properly and are not kept too close to the house. Any kind of flammable material should be kept away from the house to help prevent fire from spreading.
Make sure that your driveway is long and wide enough for fire department vehicles to access your home as directly as possible. Consult with your local department to find out what the best measurements are for your driveway.
In the event that there is a fire, you should have a water supply available for the fire department to access to help them fight it.