Fire is considered one of the most deadly and fearsome calamities that can strike a property (and even take human lives). Preparing for a fire may not be a top on your preparedness priority list, but in fact it should be. It is one of the easiest preparations you can do to keep your property and family safe.
A bit of preparation now can mean life or death later. Take some minutes and learn how to prevent fires on your property. It could save the life of the ones you love!
Don’t forget the smoke detectors
Installing fire alarms in the right places and keeping them ready and tested is crucial. You probably know this already. Every room and space should have a fire alarm and in case you have the double fire and carbon monoxide alarms, well, even better. Here are the official installation instructions from the National Fire Protection Association.
- Install smoke alarms inside each room, and outside each sleeping area as well as on every level of the home, this includes the basement.
- On levels with no bedrooms, install alarms in your living room (or family room) or alternatively near the stairway to the upper level.
- Smoke alarms placed in the basement must be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the staircase leading to the next level.
- Smoke alarms must be installed at least 10 feet away from a cooking appliance to reduce false alarms when cooking.
- Mount smoke alarms in a high place on walls or ceilings (smoke rises!). Wall-mounted alarms must be installed not more than 12 inches from the ceiling.
Interconnected smoke alarms provide an even better safety level and will guarantee that every person at the property can hear the alarms. In multiple surveys of households with any fires (this includes fires in which the fire service was not called) interconnected smoke alarms were much more likely to operate and alert occupants to a fire.
Check your dryer
If you own a gas-powered dryer, make sure it is inspected once a year at least, to ensure all connections are secure and safe. Regardless of the type of dryer you own, clean out the lint trap after a load is completed. Periodically check behind the dryer for pockets of lint or items of laundry that may have fallen under or behind.
Periodically check the condition of cords and look for frayed wires: repair cords with frayed wires immediately, do not leave this for a later time. Electrical cords produce heat, so do not place them under a rug or even between furniture and the wall.
Store properly all flammable items
Many cosmetic products like shaving cream and hair spray and other household cleaners are flammable. Make sure you keep all flammable products away from heat or heat sources, this includes exposure to sunlight. Designate a cool, dark place for flammable products and ensure all family members know where these go.
Careful with candles
Never leave candles unattended, needless to say when you’re not home, and always keep them away from flammable items like curtains and blankets. Put candles in secure holders and totally extinguish them before going to sleep or leaving your place.
Do not skip chimney repairs or maintenance
Chimneys need the same maintenance and care as any vehicle or major appliance. Inspect your chimney periodically, and clean them before “fire season” arrives each year to avoid creosote build-up. Keep your pellet stoves, wood stoves and fireplaces clean and in good shape for optimum efficiency and safety. The danger is not only inside your chimney though. Check periodically to make sure that leaves are kept away from the chimney area.
Your chimney must also be at least 3 or 4 feet taller than your roof, and have a spark arrestor on top of it. So before you start cozying up in front of your fire, contact your inner chimney sweep. Local fire departments might even rent cleaning equipment for a decent price and show you how to do this properly.
Train your family on fire safety
Teaching and training your family about fire safety is probably the biggest way you could help with fire prevention and preparation. It’s really about more than just telling them not to play with matches though; you must teach them potential fire hazards and to be aware of the consequences of their actions.
It is little things like tossing a shirt or trousers over the lamp or leaving your blanket too close to the heater that parents do not always catch but the kids can easily prevent. If you put your kid in charge of fire safety and prevention in your home, you can be sure that they will take it seriously.