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Fire Safety: Proactive Measures To Prevent a House FireFebruary 8th, 2021 by
A house fire may not be something you want to even think about, but the truth is that homes go up into flames more often than you might think. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 400,000 house fires occur in the United States each year. While this might seem like a small fraction compared to the number of homes in the U.S., experts estimate that every resident has a one in 10 chance of being in a house fire in his or her lifetime.
The bottom line is fire safety should be a top home maintenance priority for homeowners. Failure to make it a priority can have disastrous, if not deadly, consequences.
How To Prevent a Home Fire: A Brief List of Prevention Tips
There are dozens of things you can do to protect your home and your loved ones from a housefire. In fact, the list of to-dos is so extensive the topic has warranted several articles in our blog. That said, for your convenience, we’ve put together this brief list of simple yet crucial fire prevention tasks for you to tackle today:
- Install Fire Alarms and Smoke Detectors: Fire alarms and smoke detectors are the number one reason for the drastic reduction in fire-related deaths in the United States over the past 30 years. In the next sections, we will explore more in-depth the importance of fire alarms and detection systems and how you can keep yours in good working condition. However, for now, know that if you do not already have alarms and systems in place, taking the time to install them today can drastically improve your home’s safety.
- Keep Fire Extinguishers Close to Heat Sources: Ideally, you should keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, laundry room, garage and near fireplaces.
- Prioritize Education: Education your family on fire safety, conduct routine fire drills and brush up on electrical fires and how to prevent them.
- Keep Flammable Objects Away from Heat Sources: Don’t put towels on the stove, wear short sleeves when cooking, and keep curtains and other fabrics away from fireplaces, radiators and electrical heaters.
- Remain Vigilant: Stay in the kitchen when you’re cooking, never leave a grill unattended and turn off all appliances and heat sources when they’re not in use.
- Consider Children and Animals: Put matches, lighters and other sources of flame out of reach of children. If possible, invest in a stove with controls that sit above the burners rather than below. That way, pets and children cannot accidentally turn them on.
Most importantly, know the most common home hazards that cause house fires. The top six include stovetops, space heaters, electrical cords, candles, fireplaces and woodburning stoves, and Christmas trees.
Fire Alarm Maintenance Is Key to Fire Safety
Once a fire breaks out indoors, building occupants have approximately three minutes from the moment the alarm goes off to get out. Three minutes is not a lot of time, but if you notice, we said, “From the moment the alarm goes off.” If you do not have a fire alarm in your home — or if you do not have a sufficient number of alarms — the time you have to get out of your burning home can be significantly shorter.
According to the New York State Department of Health, as many as 70% of fire-related deaths occur in homes that do not have properly functioning fire alarms. The presence of a working alarm can reduce occupants’ risk of death by 50%. The bottom line is, alarm systems and detectors save lives, but they must be working efficiently to do so. To ensure your alarms are in good working order, there are a few general maintenance tasks you should perform regularly.
Test the Alarm Frequently
The frequency with which you should check your fire alarms varies, depending on which source you listen to. However, a good rule of thumb to abide by is to test your alarms monthly. The U.S. Fire Administration also suggests replacing the batteries every six months to a year.
To test the alarm, hold down the test button for a few seconds. If the batteries and alarm work, you should hear a loud, ear-piercing siren emit from the device. However, if either is defective, the alarm will sound weak or nonexistent. These are signs you should replace either the battery, alarm or both. If it has been six or months since you changed the batteries, change them regardless of the test outcome.
Clean the Alarm
You should clean your fire alarms, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month. Dust and other particles can clog the components and interfere with the devices’ abilities to function properly.
Invest in and Maintain Your Fire Extinguishers
A fire extinguisher is an integral part of your home’s fire safety plan. If you do not already have one, invest in one — or a few, depending on how many rooms in your home have heat sources or fire hazards. Once you have extinguishers in strategic places throughout your home, keep a monthly maintenance schedule. That schedule should consist of the following to-dos:
- Make sure the path to the extinguisher is free of obstructions.
- Ensure the extinguisher is mounted where you can easily spot it and access it in the event of an emergency.
- Inspect the extinguisher itself to ensure the tamper-seal is still in place and the pull-pin is not missing. Also, assess the pressure gauge to ensure it is within operating range.
- Make sure the extinguisher is free of corrosion, leaks or other damage.
- Schedule annual professional inspections.
As a homeowner, it’s important that you make fire safety a top priority. For the professional help you need to do so, use Best Pick Reports to find a qualified home safety expert near you.
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