Are you prepared for a fire emergency? Although a dire topic, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires were reported roughly every 90 seconds a few years ago. Due to the severity of home fires, it is important to keep your home safe and adhere to many fire prevention tips and techniques.
As a start, the NFPA offers some basic questions to answer.
- Do you have a home fire escape plan?
- Have you changed smoke-alarm batteries within the last year?
- Do you know the main reasons for fires starting in the home?
Why is home fire prevention so important?
Because harm and injuries due to home fires are preventable. The alarming statistics are simple. Smoke alarms save lives.
- The risk of dying in a home fire is reduced by 50% with a working smoke alarm.
- 38% of home fire deaths are the result of homes without a smoke alarm.
- 60% of home fire deaths are the result of home without a properly working smoke alarm.
Home Fire Prevention Starts with Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms are so important that the NFPA has focused on smoke alarms for three consecutive years during fire prevention week.
Because NFPA’s survey data shows that the public has many misconceptions about smoke alarms, which may put them at increased risk in the event of a home fire.
For example, only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are or how often they need to be replaced.
Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
If you don’t know the age of your smoke alarm, then check the date of manufacture on the back. It is vital to check all of the smoke alarms and ensure they are replaced every 10 years.
How To Check Your Smoke Alarm
Also, keep in mind that smoke alarms should be tested monthly and that batteries should be replaced once a year. When smoke alarms begin to chirp, then that is a signal that the batteries are running low.
For more information on smoke alarms and the Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait: Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years”, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.
Additional Home Fire Prevention Tips
Many of us view our homes as a safe haven, which is great. However, homeowners must be diligent to ensure our homes provide ample protection.
For example, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that fires kill more than 4,000 Americans every year, while injuring about 20,000 more people. In fact, U.S. fire departments respond to nearly 2 million fires each year, with 75% of fires occurring in homes.
Here are some additional ways to protect your home from fires and ensure it is the sanctuary your family deserves.
- Keep Plugs Safe & Avoid Overloading Circuits
Help prevent electrical fires by checking plugs, cords and wires. Try to avoid placing cords and wires under rugs or in high traffic areas. Plus, avoid loose connections by checking the fit of the plug in the wall outlet. A poor connection between the plug and outlet can cause overheating and start a fire.
If you have any issues or concerns with your electrical outlets, then don’t hesitate and call SolvIt today. We offer 24/7 service and can fix any electrical issues.
- Check the Appliances
The position of many standard household appliances matters. Try to keep the television, along with kitchen appliances away from any windows with curtains. If there is a wiring problem, curtains can spread a fire quickly. Additionally, keeping appliances away from water sources (like rain coming in from windows) can help prevent wiring damage that can lead to a fire.
- Clean Dryer Vents
It is important to remember to clean the lint trap before every load of laundry because the dryer is a frequent start of home fires. Clean the exhaust duct with a good quality dryer vent brush to prevent blockage, plus, check for lint build up behind the dryer at least twice a year.
- Provide Ample Space Around Portable Heaters
If you rely on space heaters during the winter, then make sure there is sufficient space around the heating unit. It is a good idea to keep any item that could potentially catch fire at least three feet away.
- Consider Fire Safety Sprinklers
Home fire sprinklers are also an upgrade to consider because they are affordable, may increase home value and lower insurance rates. More importantly, sprinklers combined with working smoke alarms greatly increase the chance of surviving a home fire.
- Conduct Regular Inspections
Preparation is the key to success. Check all of your electronic equipment and wiring at least once a month. From electrical wiring to major home appliances, if there are any questions, the remember the Home Protection Plan offers a seasonal review and tune-up to ensure there are no electrical issues.
- Check the Fire Extinguisher
In the event of a fire, many people will instinctively look for a fire extinguisher. Just like smoke alarms and CO detectors, fire extinguishers play a critical role in fire prevention.
However, there are separate types of fire extinguishers for every type of fire. The NFPA categorizes these in the following classes of fire:
- Class A – These fires involve ordinary combustibles like wood, paper and cloth.
- Class B – These fires involve flammable liquids, such as oils and gasoline, and oil-based items like paints and stains.
- Class C – These fires involve energized electrical equipment like wiring, circuit breakers, fuse boxes, machinery and appliances.
- Class D – These fires involve combustible metals, such as magnesium.
- Class K – These fires result from the combustion of cooking oils and fats, such as commercial kitchen fires.
A good home extinguisher is an ABC class that extinguishes all three classifications of fires, which are common in homes.
- Create a Home Escape Route
Practice makes perfect, so create and practice an escape plan with your family from every room in the house. It is important to practice staying low to the floor and checking for hot doors using the back of your hand.
Home Safety Checklist for Fire Prevention
There are many things a homeowner can do to help create a safe shelter that prevents home fires. However, accidents happen, which means no home or family can be too safe.
FEMA provides a complete home safety checklist, which includes details about the following topics:
- Smoke Alarms
- Cooking Safety
- Electrical & Appliance Safety
- Candle Safety
- Carbon Monoxide Alarms
- Heating Safety
- Home Escape Plan
And remember, that safety doesn’t stop when you and your family is asleep.
To help keep your home and family safe, consider installing GFCIs around your home to help prevent electrical faults that could cause home fires. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, arcing faults cause about 30,000 home fires each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries and more than $862 million in property damage.
Do you have any questions? SolvIt is ready to answer any questions or help conduct any home inspections, so please feel free to contact SolvIt today.