Fire Safety is of utmost importance. Fires are one of the most dangerous and costly losses you can experience. Not only is it traumatic to be involved in a house fire, but it is also devastating to see the remains of your charred sentimental belongings. We reached out to an expert to find out what every day behaviors increase the risk of fire and how we can better prepare ourselves in the event of a fire. Captain Todd Warner with the Paducah Fire Department gave us the following 10 tips for fire safety that includes tips to prevent fires and how to prepare your home. We are sure you will find something on this list that you had not previously considered.
1. Butt Out
smoking is still the #1 cause of fires that kill adults. Never smoke in bed. Never smoke if there is an oxygen tank nearby. Instead, smoke outside to fully eliminate the risk of fire. Regardless, make sure you use deep and heavy ashtrays to avoid having them flip or fall off a table by accident. When putting out your cigarette, use water or sand to help snuff out any embers.
2. Space Heaters Need Space
Make sure space heaters are not too close to drapes, bedding, sofas or your clothing. IN fact, The National Fire Protection Association recommends your space heater should be at least 3 feet away from everything. Shut off AND unplug your space heater when you leave your home and go to bed. Never plug your space heater into an extension cord or power strip. Plug them directly into the wall. As an extra precaution, you can purchase space heaters that are designed to turn off if they tip over.
3. Cook With Care
most cooking fires happen when you fry food. If a pan or pot of food catches fire, keep a lid nearby and cover the pan. Wear short, rolled-up or fitted sleeves when cooking so they don’t catch fire accidentally. Don’t leave the room when food is being cooked on the stove. Move things that can burn away from the stove.
4. Smoke Alarms
Did you know the chance of surviving a home fire almost doubles with the use of a smoke alarm? They work.
You should get a smoke alarm for every room, outside each bedroom and on every level of your home. A connected smoke alarm that sets all alarms off when any one is triggered is ideal. You should also test your smoke alarms every month (simply press the test button). If hearing the alarm is a problem, you can get a strobe alarm or one that shakes your bed in the event it goes off. Lastly, if reacting to a smoke alarm is a problem due to poor hearing, vision or immobility then consider getting a smoke alarm that is connected to a monitoring center in the event it gets triggered.
5. Get Fireplace & Wood Stoves Inspected Annually
Your fireplace or wood stove may need a cleaning. Too much soot in your chimney can cause a fire. Cracks in chimney bricks and rusting in stove pipes can also cause a fire. Avoid burning green wood, garbage or cardboard boxes in your fireplace as they increase dangers soot build up in your chimney. Also, if you have a fire place with glass doors then keep them open when making a fire.
6. Make A Getaway Plan
If there is a fire that is too hard to control then get out. Create a fire escape plan and familiarize yourself with it. You should know the exits from your house or apartment as well as how to get out of your building. Make sure your designated escape door can be easily opened when rushed and visibility is poor.
7. The Dreaded “Power Strip”
In the past several decades our lives have been inundated with gadgets and gizmos. All of which require power or batteries that need to be charged. Avoid bargain store power strips as these type of strips are wired with nothing more than the cheapest wire available. Make sure it is UL (Underwriters Laboratory) rated before you purchase one. And remember to only plug in as much wattage as it is rated for. Not how many plug in slots it has.
8. (Seniors) Avoid Escape Proof Doors
If your loved one has issues with wandering due to Alzheimer’s or Dementia then do not create a complicated lock that will keep them from opening the front door. You could end up trapping them inside the house in the event of a fire. it is much better to explore getting them a GPS system that will track them if they wander. Another option is an alarm system that will alert you if they leave a designated perimeter.
9. Avoid Candles
Scented candles have grown in popularity. They smell delicious and they can create a calm and soothing environment. Avoid any open flames in your home to the greatest extent possible. Consider electric candles as a safer alternative to the real thing. Electric candles also come in scented varieties so you don’t miss out.
10. Keep Fire Extinguishers Nearby
You should have at least one fire extinguisher near every fire hazard whether it be your kitchen, fireplace, wood stove or furnace room. Make sure your fire extinguishers are full and operational. Also, don’t place the extinguishers too close to the hazard. For example, place an extinguisher in the kitchen but far enough away from the stove that if the stove top does catch fire you are able to get to the extinguisher without burning yourself.
Safety is everything. Nothing on earth can replace the memories you have made in your home. But insurance can help get you back on your feet if a devastating event does occur. Be sure your home is adequately protected now to prevent more stress if the unthinkable does happen to you.