Sadly, home fires are a big concern in the United States, where there are over 350,000 of them. There is a home structure fire every minute and 15 seconds. And these fires don’t just result in injuries and property loss. The price is often higher than that.
Fires are fatal
- U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,240,000 fires
- These fires resulted in 3,240 civilian fire fatalities
- Home fires caused 2,755, or 85%, of the civilian fire deaths
- 3 out of 5 home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke detectors or without working smoke detectors
- The trend of reported deaths for 1,000 reported home fires has not changed since 1977.
You can find a wealth of NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) resources online.
Source: NFPA Home Fact Sheet
The leading cause of home fires is cooking equipment, followed by heating equipment and electrical malfunctions. To help prevent these disastrous fires, here are 8 home fire safety tips that you can start implementing today.
8 Home Fire Safety Tips
1. Install Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors alert you if there is a fire in your home in time for you to escape. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and inside each sleeping area. Smoke detectors last for about 10 years, but need periodic battery checks, about twice every year.
2. Plan An Escape
Prepare for a fire emergency by creating an escape plan. Be sure that everyone knows at least two exits – doors and windows – from every room. If you live in an apartment building, do not include elevators in your escape plan. Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will meet. Once you have a plan in place, practice the plan. This will make the escape route easier to remember in the event of an emergency.
3. Cook Carefully
Never EVER leave the kitchen while you’re cooking. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can’t bump them and children can’t grab them. Enforce a three feet “No-Kids-Allowed Zone” around your kitchen stove. If grease catches fire, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat. Never use water to put out a grease fire. Leave the lid on until the pan is cool.
5. Keep Space Around Space Heaters
Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire. Never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed.
6. Use Electricity Safely
If an electrical appliance or outlet smokes or has an unusual smell, shut off power at the breaker box immediately and call your local electrician. Replace any electrical cord that’s cracked or frayed. Don’t overload extension cords or run them under rugs. Don’t mess with your fuse box or use the wrong size fuses. Have GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) and AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupters) installed throughout your home. Always call a professional electrician for all electrical work.
7. Get Low
Smoke inhalation is actually the primary cause of death for victims of indoor fires. If you encounter smoke while you are attempting to escape a fire, try to use an alternative escape route. If you absolutely must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor.
8. Stop, Drop, and Roll
We all learned this in elementary school, but quick refreshers never hurt. Remember, if your clothes catch fire, don’t run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands and roll over and over to smother the flames.
Here some more Fire Safety for Summer:
For more information on fire safety in and around your home, read our other blogs on the topic:
- Propane Grilling Do’s and Don’ts
- Propane Safety
- New Year’s Resolutions for the Home
- Protect Your Home While Away
If you have any questions about home fire safety or would like to know how you can better protect your home and family, give the Boulden Brothers Home Service experts a call at (302) 368-3848. We have many different options available to you, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, GFCI and AFCI outlets, annual maintenance plans, and much more!
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you might have.
Everyone here at Boulden Brothers wishes you a safe, happy, and long summer!