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.
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.
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.