Our homes are the most important place to practice fire safety. Fire damage can lead to devastating situations for your loved ones and the integrity of your home. The best way to practice fire safety is to stay up to date on the preventative measures in your home.
To keep your home and family safe, here are ten items you need in your home for fire safety.
- Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms are designed to detect more than the visible smoke that might come from a fire. They also detect combustion gases in the air that you might not notice otherwise.
You should install smoke alarms on every level of your home, and it is vital to have the correct number of smoke alarms. In the best case, you should place these alarms outside each sleeping area and in the kitchen.
You should test each smoke alarm monthly. This ensures the smoke alarms are working properly and the sound can be recognized by all who live in the home. Additionally, batteries should be replaced every year.
Some older homes may require installing additional smoke detectors or making sure the alarms are wired together so that when one alarm goes off, all the smoke alarms follow. Check out this checklist from the Red Cross for more information.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Although carbon monoxide detectors may look similar to smoke alarms, they serve a different purpose. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that can be released from gasoline-powered equipment and appliances such as a furnace, space heaters, gas stoves, and more. Because carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, it can go undetected while causing health problems and other complications.
Since carbon monoxide can diffuse throughout a room, CO detectors should be placed near sleeping areas on every level of your home.
In the past, it has been recommended to install CO detectors lower to the ground. However, it is now suggested by the EPA that installation should be about five feet above the floor instead.
Like smoke alarms, they should be tested monthly, and batteries should be replaced yearly.
- Fire Extinguisher
Most home fires begin in the kitchen or the garage, which is why it is a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in both locations of your home and follow these tips to prevent fires in the kitchen or cooking areas.
However, before using a fire extinguisher, it is essential to call the fire department and evacuate everyone in the building.
When using a fire extinguisher, remember to use the PASS method:
- P-Pull the pin
- A-Aim the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire
- S-Squeeze the trigger slowly and evenly
- S-Sweep the area from side to side to cover all the area the fire may have reached
It is important to remember that the fire extinguisher may expire and need to be inspected or replaced every ten years.
People use candles for a myriad of situations, particularly in power outages. While candles can be helpful in these instances, it is recommended that battery-powered flashlights or lanterns be used instead of candles in these instances.
There are even battery-powered candles that can be used instead. They can create the same aesthetic with far less risk and a longer lifespan.
- Sealed containers for rags with flammable substances
Most people are aware of the flammable substances that they may have in their homes. But one overlooked part of fire safety is properly taking care of rags or tarps that may have come in contact with those flammable substances.
These items should be stored in airtight containers and stored away from any heat sources. If possible, use containers made of metal or non-plastic material.
- Maintained Appliances
All appliances used in your home should include a tag that certifies independent testing, as well as a direct plug into an outlet wherever possible. Extension cords and power strips can be useful, but overloading any power source should be avoided whenever possible.
There are many household appliances that should be professionally serviced and maintained, particularly dryers, furnaces, stoves, and other heating appliances.
You should check any corded appliances regularly for wear and tear. If the cord is frayed, wires are exposed, or other damages can be seen, make sure to repair the item or discard it correctly.
- Easily Readable house number
Fire safety also includes preparation for when the fire department may have to arrive on the scene of a fire. Having a house number that is easily visible and readable can save time for the fire department to respond to an emergency.
While a custom piece in an artistic font might look cute on the front of your house, if it can’t be read quickly and easily from the road, it might not be the best choice for the safety of your home and family.
- Childproof locks for lighters, matches, etc.
Lighters and matches are necessary for various tasks, so it is common to find them inside your home. Make sure to keep these items out of reach of children, pets, or anyone who may not be able to use them responsibly using childproof devices or containers.
- Quick-release devices on doors and windows
Having security measures like locks, bars, or grates in place on your windows and doors can offer a sense of safety and protection. There are many options when it comes to these devices, so it’s important to know what to look for.
When selecting hardware, look for items that have a quick-release component. This ensures that the security measure can still prevent entrance through the window and door while allowing those inside to exit in the case of an emergency.
- Family Emergency Plan
No fire safety list is complete without a family emergency plan. It is impossible to prepare for every situation, but having a comprehensive exit plan and a designated meeting place away from the house can help prepare everyone in the home for most problems.
Be sure to go over the plan and practice with all members of the household at least once or twice a year.
Black Diamond Restoration
Practicing fire safety in your home is essential, but there are times when bad things still happen, no matter how prepared you may be. In those circumstances, know that there are experts at Black Diamond Restoration who can repair, restore, or replace whatever has been damaged by fire. They are available anytime, 24/7, and have over twenty years of experience in Disaster Restoration.
If you or someone you know has experienced fire damage or needs restoration after a disaster, contact Black Diamond Restoration today.