9 Fire Safety Tips

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Keep your family safe: Practice fire safety

It must be fire safety month at Safe Sound Family, because clearly, I have fire on the brain. I don’t want to be alarmist (haha), as that is truly not my intent. It’s just that my parents once taught me that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I can’t think of many situations in which that idiom rings truer than it does with fire prevention and safety.

So think of today as your Cliff’s Notes to fire safety – a quick & dirty guide to protect your family from the dangers of faulty electronics, flammable goods, lightening storms, and wayward appliances.

1. Educate Your Kids

Kids have an awesome capacity for learning and understanding, so school them in fire safety. Children do really well with mnemonics and mantras and other tools to jog their memories in case of emergency. (For some specific tips, check out our article on fire prevention for kids or our comprehensive guide to Fire Safety for Kids.)

2. Smoke Alarms & Fire Extinguishers

You should have at least one smoke alarm per level of your home, plus extras in every sleeping area and near the kitchen. You should also have at least one fire extinguisher in your home, and preferably one per floor. Check smoke alarm batteries & extinguisher pressure regularly, and change batteries at least twice a year. (Read more about smoke detector placement & maintenance.)

3. Fire Sprinklers

Did you know you can get fire sprinklers installed in your home? I know, sounds fancy schmancy, but they’re actually quite affordable. In fact, once you factor in insurance discounts and increased property values, home fire sprinklers are actually a great investment in your family’s safety.

Kids are great – and eager – allies in your family's fire safety plan

Kids are great – and eager – allies in your family’s fire safety plan

4. Plan Your Escape

You may not want to think about it, but you do need to create an emergency escape plan in case of fire.

5. Appliances & Electrical Safety

Nearly half of all house fires are attributed to faulty appliances, electronics, and electrical wiring. Practice proper electrical safety at home, including regular safety checks.

6. In the Kitchen

Okay, the number one fire safety tip in the kitchen is never leave your cooking unattended! Even if it’s just a turkey roasting for hours in the oven, don’t leave the house. If you’re using the stovetop, take extra precautions and move flammable materials (napkins, oven mitts, etc.) to a safe distance.

7. Smokers, Be Safe

If you smoke, you need to follow extra safety precautions. Keep lighters and matches out of reach of little hands. Always be sure to stub out your cigarettes thoroughly (or douse them in water). Never smoke near oxygen tanks, aerosol cans, or other flammable materials. Don’t smoke in bed.

8. Lightening

I don’t know about you but for me, lightening is both awesome and terrifying. A lightening storm, especially at night, is absolutely gorgeous. But it’s also potentially dangerous, so remember to stay inside. Stay away from water (don’t even wash your hands). Don’t use electronics. And if you feel your hair stand on end, lightening is about to strike. Duck! (Not kidding.)

9. Fire Protection Systems

Think of it like this: fire protection is to smoke alarms what a home security system is to DIY door sensors. In other words, a fire protection system links your smoke alarms to a security company, so they can monitor your home while you’re at work or on vacation, or can call the fire department in an emergency. Fire protection means someone else is looking out for your family, too.

7 Home Safety Tips You May Have Overlooked

home safety tips

Your family’s safety is your top priority

As an adult and parent, you’re aware of and practice basic home safety. You close your windows at night; you store poisonous chemicals in a secure spot; you have heavy-duty doors, door frames and deadbolts; you installed smoke detectors in every bedroom, in the kitchen, and on every floor of your home. You are responsible.

But in the home safety and security game, there are many things that are easy to overlook. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 7 home safety tips to help you evaluate your security measures. If you find something wanting, don’t panic; just take the proper steps to tie up loose ends.

1. Teach your kids about “stranger danger.”
While it’s important to teach your children courtesy and politeness, they should also know that they should never, ever speak to strangers when they are alone. Teach this in a non-alarmist way – you don’t need to scare them into submission, just establish basic rules and follow them yourself. (Lead by example.) For example, tell your children that they should never open the door to strangers and should always ask a visitor to identify him or herself. Whenever the doorbell rings, make sure to get a verbal ID before opening the door. If you make something regular practice, your kids will, too.

parental controls

Smart parental controls can keep older kids safe online

2. Everyone should know how to arm – but not disarm – the burglar alarm.
Your home alarm is one of the best tools in your burglar prevention arsenal, so make sure everyone in your family knows how to arm the system. On the flip side however, don’t teach very young kids the alarm code. The general rule of thumb is, if they’re not old enough to stay home alone, then they don’t need to know your code. Even if you trust your little ones, remember that they are innocent and may accidentally let slip to someone who shouldn’t have the deactivation code.

3. Prevention is the best medicine.
You know that you should install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors placed throughout your home; you know that you should establish an emergency escape route; you know that you should have several fire extinguishers; you know… well, you know. But part of preventing emergencies is maintenance: check smoke alarm batteries regularly; practice your emergency escape route; and monitor the extinguisher pressure and supplies.

4. Childproof, no matter you kids’ ages.
Childproofing is much more than installing cabinet locks to prevent babies from breaking in to your liquor stash: it’s about creating a safe environment for kids of all ages. For toddlers, install cordless blinds or curtains throughout your home to prevent choking. With young children, make sure you have non-slip rugs in the bathroom. For pre-teens, you may want to install parental controls on the computer. You know your children best, so you know best how to equip your home to prevent accidents and other dangers.

stranger at the door

Teach your kids (and train yourself) to never open the door to strangers

5. Safe stash your valuables.
A fireproof safe can help keep your valuables secure during an emergency or a home invasion. While you’ll want to store precious jewelry or cash in the safe, you should also use it to store the deed to your home, wills, and any other important documents you’d want to survive a fire, flood, or other disaster.

6. Close the garage door.
Garage doors are an open invitation to petty thieves and serious burglars alike. Even when you’re home, don’t leave the garage door open – it provides too easy a view into your home and belongings. When you’re away, even if you’ve made efforts to create the illusion of being home, take the extra precaution of disabling your garage door. To do so, either disconnect it from the automatic opener or lock the mechanism into place (with an actual padlock).

7. Establish a Neighborhood Watch.
Did you know that nosy neighbors help prevent home invasions? Make friends with the families on your street. Encourage checking in on each other. You can even formalize arrangements with a Neighborhood Watch program. But whether formal or informal, promise each other to be vigilant: Don’t ignore wailing alarms; keep an eye on strangers wandering through the neighborhood; and notify each other of suspicious behavior. And call the police if you notice something fishy. It’s better to be safe than sorry.