Safety at Home
The number one thing that you can do protect yourself and your loved ones at home is to be prepared. Being prepared means installing and maintaining smoke detectors throughout your house. You should have a smoke detector on each level of your home and outside each sleeping area to increase the early detection of a possible fire. Remember to test them regularly and to change the batteries twice a year.
Another way to be prepared is to plan and practice an escape route. You should try to have two possible exits out of every room and a meeting point somewhere outside where everyone should try to get to as quickly as possible. Once you have made it outside, never return back into the burning building. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
Remember that if there is a fire in your house, there is going to be a lot of smoke and toxic fumes accumulating. These fumes are deadly. They are the most common cause of death in a fire. Since the heated smoke and gases will rise in the room, there will be a cooler, cleaner air supply low to the ground. If both of your exits are blocked and you have to travel through the smoke, crawl low on your hands and knees to avoid smoke inhalation.
Stop, Drop and Roll! Do Not Run!
If your clothes catch on fire, remember to stop, drop, and roll. DO NOT RUN! That fire on your clothes needs oxygen to survive. If you start running you are feeding more oxygen to the fire and therefore making the fire bigger. When you stop, drop, and roll you are smothering the fire by taking away its oxygen supply. It is important to remember to cover your face with your hands while you are rolling around to protect yourself from the fire.
If someone does get burned, place the wound immediately in cool water for 10-15 minutes. Do not use butter or anything else on a burn, as this will prolong the burning process. By cooling the wound and preventing the burning process you can reduce the damage to the skin. If blisters and or chars appear, seek medical attention immediately.
Minimize Your Hazards
The second thing you can do to ensure fire safety at home is to MINIMIZE YOUR HAZARDS. Most home fires could have been easily prevented if someone would have just paid more attention to their surroundings. It’s easy to be fire safe at home.
The kitchen is where you will most likely have to deal with a fire situation. Be careful when you are cooking. If you have a gas burner, you should never wear long or baggy sleeved shirts while cooking. Never leave items being cooked unattended. Keep your pot handles turned inward so no one can knock or pull them over the edge of the stove.
Do Not Use Water to Extinguish Grease Fires
If you have a grease fire while you are cooking, DO NOT USE WATER to extinguish the fire. Water will only splash the grease out of the pan and cause flaming grease to spread the fire. Instead, you should smother the flame using the lid for that pot or pan. You can also use baking soda or a fire extinguisher to knock down the fire.
Use Caution When Smoking
A fire that didn’t start in the kitchen, most likely started because of a lit cigarette coming into contact with a combustible material. Please use caution when smoking, both inside and outside the house. Never smoke in bed or while you are drowsy, as this increases the chances of your cigarette being dropped. If you are putting out your cigarette into anything other than an ashtray, or if you are emptying an ash tray, remember to ensure that the cigarette is completely out. Being a responsible smoker means keeping all lighters and matches away from children, or where children can easily get them. Children need to be educated about fire safety and reminded of the importance not to play with matches and lighters. You should tell your children that if they find matches or a lighter, they should tell their parents about it immediately.
Use Electricity Safely
Most electrical fires that occur in the home can be easily prevented. Use electricity safely. You should ensure that all of your electrical cords are free of any frays, cracks, or other damage. If an appliance starts to smoke or smell like it’s burning, unplug it immediately and have it repaired before using it again. Extension cords should only be used for temporary purposes and should not serve as a permanent power source for any appliance or stationary device. Never run extension cords underneath rugs or furniture.
Do Not Overload Extension Cords or Outlets
Extension cords, wall sockets, and fuse boxes are all designed to only handle a certain amount of electricity. That is why it is important not to overload extension cords or outlets with too many plugs. Remember that just because you have a multiplug adaptor does not mean that your adaptor changes the outlet’s ability to provide a set amount of electricity. Overloading an outlet can lead to a fire, that’s why you should use surge protector strips instead of multiplug adaptors.
Remember that Heaters Need Space
During the winter time, it might be a necessary to use a portable space heater to keep your home warm. The most important thing to consider with space heaters is that they need space! They need at least three feet of clear space from any combustible item, including bedding, curtains, furniture, paper, and clothing. Never leave a space heater on when you are not able to watch it. Remember to keep children and pets away from space heaters to ensure safety for everyone.