Oct 13, 2017
Fire safety month continues, with this week being Fire Prevention WeekTM! Now that we have cleared up any questions regarding fire and carbon monoxide monitoring [LINK] for your home, let’s dig in to the essential tips that you can implement on your own to prevent fires, or respond accordingly while waiting for help. Always be prepared!
1. Replace and Test Batteries
“While smoke alarms are installed in 96 percent of US homes, 20 percent of those alarms are not functioning, mainly due to dead or missing batteries.”1 Daylight saving time is coming up on Sunday, November 5th. This is a great time to avoid being a part of that 20% and change your smoke (and carbon monoxide) detector batteries, and then test them for good measure. We recommend setting a calendar reminder twice per year so that you don’t forget!
To take that one step further, you can get automated low battery notifications when you opt for 24/7 smoke alarm monitoring. Never miss a beat when your life safety systems are monitored. And, if you are looking to upgrade, now is a good time to ensure your safety with new technology.
Newer smoke alarms have a 10 year life, which means they need replacing much less often than older versions. In some states, including Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan, 10-year smoke alarms are required. Contact us for more information.
2. Create and Practice Fire Emergency Plans
You’ve probably heard the saying “fail to plan, plan to fail” before. This is one of those times that planning is imperative for your safety, especially if you have children in the house. The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) theme for Fire Prevention WeekTM (October 8-14) is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” That being said, make sure your fire escape plan includes two exits, accessible windows and familiarity with your home in the dark. Practice escape routes twice per year at the same time you’re changing smoke detector batteries!
3. House Fire Prevention
U.S. fire departments respond to a house fire every 23 seconds but there are steps you can take to prevent them from occurring in your home.
- Never leave your oven or grill unattended and always keep children away.
- Grills should be placed at least 10 feet away from anything flammable (siding, decks, eaves, tree branches).
- In a home where oxygen is used, never smoke cigarettes.
- Don’t smoke cigarettes when you are tired - the risk of falling asleep with a cigarette still burning is too high.
- Keep your small kitchen appliances unplugged and replace any frayed wires.
- Use space heaters that are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed and keep them away from anything flammable.
- Make sure your wood stove or fireplace fires are completely out before leaving your house or going to bed.
- Keep your portable generators outside.
- Place fire extinguishers in rooms with cooking appliances and wood burning fireplaces and stoves...and know how to use them!
4. What To Do During A House Fire
In our last blog we shared that fire is fast, hot, dark and deadly (also listed below). Keeping these things in mind will help you proceed accordingly should you find yourself in this horrific situation.
- Since smoke and toxic gasses rise, you want to stay low.
- If you or your clothing catch fire, stop, drop and roll. If that isn’t an option, try smothering the flames with a blanket or towel.
- As you work to exit your home, always feel the doorknob before opening the door; if it is hot, leave it closed and find your secondary exit.
- That being said, open all doors slowly and shut them quickly if there is smoke or fire.
If you get out, alert firefighters to any people or pets still in the house. If you are unable to escape, think prevention. You want to prevent as much smoke and fire from entering your area as possible. Close all doors, cover any spaces or cracks with towels or tap, close all vents. If you are on a second story or higher level, find a window and indicate where you are located with something lightly colored or using a flashlight.
5. Remember The Fire Facts
Keeping this knowledge from the Ready Campaign2 in mind will help you react quickly with fewer missteps during an emergency situation:
- FIRE IS FAST: It takes 30 seconds or less for a small flame to turn into a large fire, two minutes to become life-threatening and five minutes for your home to be completely engulfed in flames.
- FIRE IS HOT: Heat is more threatening than flames. The temperature of a room during a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this extremely hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.
- FIRE IS DARK: Fire starts bright but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.
- FIRE IS DEADLY: Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of a monitored fire alarm in your home with the hope that you never actually need to use it. However, house fires are all too common. Doing your part to prevent fires and, should the worst case scenario occur, knowing what to do during that time between your fire alarm sounding and help arriving could be life-saving.
Check out next week’s blog on fire safety tips for your business. Contact us with any questions!
2 The Ready Campaign, a national public service campaign promoting preparedness during emergencies.