The number one thing that you can do protect yourself and your loved ones at
home is to be prepared. Being prepared means installing and maintaining smoke
detectors throughout your house. You should have a smoke detector on each level
of your home and outside each sleeping area to increase the early detection of
a possible fire. Remember to test them regularly and to change the batteries
twice a year.
Another way to be prepared is to plan and practice an escape route. You should
try to have two possible exits out of every room and a meeting point somewhere
outside where everyone should try to get to as quickly as possible. Once you
have made it outside, never return back into the burning building. Practice
your escape plan at least twice a year.
Remember that if there is a fire in your house, there is going to be a lot of
smoke and toxic fumes accumulating. These fumes are deadly. They are the most
common cause of death in a fire. Since the heated smoke and gases will rise in
the room, there will be a cooler, cleaner air supply low to the ground. If both
of your exits are blocked and you have to travel through the smoke, crawl low
on your hands and knees to avoid smoke inhalation.
If your clothes catch on fire, remember to stop, drop, and roll. DO NOT RUN!
That fire on your clothes needs oxygen to survive. If you start running you are
feeding more oxygen to the fire and therefore making the fire bigger. When you
stop, drop, and roll you are smothering the fire by taking away its oxygen
supply. It is important to remember to cover your face with your hands while
you are rolling around to protect yourself from the fire.
If someone does get burned, place the wound immediately in cool water for 10-15
minutes. Do not use butter or anything else on a burn, as this will prolong the
burning process. By cooling the wound and preventing the burning process you
can reduce the damage to the skin. If blisters and or chars appear, seek
medical attention immediately.
The second thing you can do to ensure fire safety at home is to MINIMIZE YOUR
HAZARDS. Most home fires could have been easily prevented if someone would have
just paid more attention to their surroundings. It’s easy to be fire safe at
The kitchen is where you will most likely have to deal with a fire situation. Be
careful when you are cooking. If you have a gas burner, you should never wear
long or baggy sleeved shirts while cooking. Never leave items being cooked
unattended. Keep your pot handles turned inward so no one can knock or pull
them over the edge of the stove.
If you have a grease fire while you are cooking, DO NOT USE WATER to extinguish
the fire. Water will only splash the grease out of the pan and cause flaming
grease to spread the fire. Instead, you should smother the flame using the lid
for that pot or pan. You can also use baking soda or a fire extinguisher to
knock down the fire.
A fire that didn’t start in the kitchen, most likely started because of a lit
cigarette coming into contact with a combustible material. Please use caution
when smoking, both inside and outside the house. Never smoke in bed or while
you are drowsy, as this increases the chances of your cigarette being dropped.
If you are putting out your cigarette into anything other than an ashtray, or
if you are emptying an ash tray, remember to ensure that the cigarette is
completely out. Being a responsible smoker means keeping all lighters and
matches away from children, or where children can easily get them. Children
need to be educated about fire safety and reminded of the importance not to
play with matches and lighters. You should tell your children that if they find
matches or a lighter, they should tell their parents about it immediately.
Most electrical fires that occur in the home can be easily prevented. Use
electricity safely. You should ensure that all of your electrical cords are
free of any frays, cracks, or other damage. If an appliance starts to smoke or
smell like it’s burning, unplug it immediately and have it repaired before
using it again. Extension cords should only be used for temporary purposes and
should not serve as a permanent power source for any appliance or stationary
device. Never run extension cords underneath rugs or furniture.
Extension cords, wall sockets, and fuse boxes are all designed to only handle a
certain amount of electricity. That is why it is important not to overload
extension cords or outlets with too many plugs. Remember that just because you
have a multiplug adaptor does not mean that your adaptor changes the outlet’s
ability to provide a set amount of electricity. Overloading an outlet can lead
to a fire, that’s why you should use surge protector strips instead of
During the winter time, it might be a necessary to use a portable space heater
to keep your home warm. The most important thing to consider with space heaters
is that they need space! They need at least three feet of clear space from any
combustible item, including bedding, curtains, furniture, paper, and clothing.
Never leave a space heater on when you are not able to watch it. Remember to
keep children and pets away from space heaters to ensure safety for everyone.