How to prevent your family from home fires
by: Alex Pericleous
Few tragedies can grab at the heart strings more than house fires. Not only can lives be lost or serious injuries can occur – also there are countless memories and mementoes that are destroyed forever.
According to the Red Cross, on average seven people die each day as a result of a home fire. An average of 36 people are injured in home fires each day. And billions of dollars in property damage occurs each year because of house fires.
Every home has some risk for a fire. The causes of a house fire can vary greatly:
- Faulty electrical wiring
- Cooking fires
- Children playing with fire or combustible items
- Hazardous chemicals placed too close to heat or flame
- Chimney fires
- And more
- Involve everyone in fire emergency preparedness – children, adults and seniors should all participate in fire prevention and be educated on how to deal with fire emergencies.
- Install and test smoke detectors – every home should have at least one smoke alarm in place. The size and construction of the home may dictate the need for multiple smoke detectors. Test all smoke alarms once a month to confirm they are working properly.
- Have a fire emergency plan – discuss with your family the various scenarios that could occur in the event of a fire. Then rehearse using fire escape drills to make sure everyone understands what needs to happen and their role in the emergency. For example, if a cook fire occurs in the kitchen, where should people exit? Is there a central meeting location established that would be safely away from the home?
- Conduct a fire risk assessment – inspect your home and identify areas that could be at higher risk for fire. Are there areas of the home where candles or open flames are used? How safe is the kitchen and grilling areas to prevent fire? Are there storage areas with combustible chemicals? When the last time electrical boxes or connections was inspected?
- Install fire extinguishers – particularly in kitchen and cooking areas you should have a fire extinguisher readily available. The extinguisher can quickly address a fire before it becomes a serious emergency. Make sure everyone is properly trained on the operation of the extinguisher. Also make sure the fire extinguisher is inspected or replaced regularly so it will work properly if an emergency ever occurs.
- Review your emergency plan regularly – take the time to go through your fire drills and review your emergency plan on a regular schedule. Also make sure a new risk assessment is conducted each time there are significant changes to the home such as renovations, new appliances, or other projects.