According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 3,400 Americans die, and 17,500 are injured in fires each year. A great deal of these occur in the home. Surviving a fire is not about luck – it’s about planning ahead.
Here are some highlights from the USFA website that could save your life, or the lives of your family;
Plan the Escape Route. Create the best (most direct) escape route from every room in the house, and practice that. Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Choose a location where everyone will meet after escaping the house. Get out first – call for help second.
Smoke Alarms. Smoke alarms are so cheap now days, there’s no excuse for not having one for every level of your home. Just this alone can double your odds of survival in a fire. These have a test button on them to insure they are working. They are have a warning when the battery gets low. The alarm will “chirp” every minute or so. It’s a good idea to check smoke alarms once a month.
Children & Fire. Children under five are naturally curious about fire. Many play with matches and lighters. Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching your children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
Prevent Electrical Fires. Don’t overload your wall outlets or extension cords with too many devices. Don’t have cords or wires under rugs, over nails or in busy areas of the house. Immediately shut off and unplug any appliance that sputters, sparks or emitts an unusual smell. Get them professionally repaired or replaced.
Appliance Safety. When using appliances follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions. If you see any sign of trouble with an appliance, shut it off – then replace or repair. Unplug appliances when not in use.
Heaters. Portable heaters need at least three feet of space around them. Don’t set anything closer to a heater. Use kerosene heaters only where approved by your local authorities. Never use gasoline or camp-stove fuel. Refuel outside and only after the heater has cooled. Keep fire in the fireplace. Use fire screens and have your chimney cleaned annually. The creosote buildup can ignite a chimney fire that could easily burn down your home.
Home Fire Sprinklers. Sprinklers are actually very affordable. They can also increase property value and lower your home insurance rates. When home fire sprinklers are used with working smoke alarms, your chances of surviving a fire are greatly increased. (To find out just how affordable this can be, contact Florida Fire Service.)
Fire Extinguishers. Having at least one fire extinguisher on each level of your home is a smart precaution. Just remember the Rules for Fighting Fires;
- 1. Activate fire alarm or call 911.
- 2. Get all people out of the building.
- 3. Only after 1 and 2 are done, attempt to extinguish the fire yourself.
To learn more about which extinguisher to buy and where to place them, talk to one of our experts here at Florida Fire Service.
Older People. Every year over 1,000 senior citizens die in fires. Many of these fire deaths could have been prevented. Seniors are especially vulnerable because many live alone and can’t respond quickly. Where practical, use the above information to reduce the risk for any seniors in your family.
For more prevention information, see the U.S. Fire Administration website at: