5 Tips to Help You Prepare For a Fire
According to experts, it's estimated there's a house fire in the U.S. every 86 seconds, which is a very alarming thing to know if you're a homeowner. However, there's a lot you can do to control the outcome since you can't guarantee there will never be a fire in your home. Read on to learn the top five tips to help you prepare for a fire.
Install Smoke Alarms/Detectors
You must have smoke detectors in key areas of your home, such as the kitchen, bedrooms, hallways, and near heat sources. However, you shouldn't install a smoke alarm anywhere near air ducts or windows where a draft could prevent the smoke alarm from detecting the smoke.
If you live in a multi-story home, be sure to install at least one smoke detector at every level of your home because you never know the area where a fire will originate. When you have installed smoke detectors, keep in mind they need minor maintenance. For instance, you need to periodically check and replace the batteries. You also need to ensure all electrical connections are in place. To make sure your smoke alarms work when you need them to, test them at least once a month. Generally, if your smoke detectors are older than 10 years, you'll need to replace them since you don't want them to fail. Smoke alarms also need replacement if there are other visible signs of damage.
Once you have the ins and outs of smoke alarms figured out, go ahead and teach children and other residents of the house what a smoke alarm sounds like, and determine a plan of action for when the smoke alarm goes off. In addition, you can also schedule regular smoke alarm inspections and have a professional check if everything is in order. A professional is more likely to spot any issues with your smoke detectors that you may have overlooked.
Invest in Fire Safety Equipment
It's impossible to be fully prepared for a fire accident without investing in fire equipment. Fire safety equipment mainly includes items like smoke alarms, sprinklers, fire hose reels, and fire extinguishers. One of the most crucial pieces of fire safety equipment to have in the home is the fire extinguisher, which can put out a fledgling fire quickly, if the fire is noticed right away. In fact, many people rely on fire extinguishers to put out small fires on their properties. Even if there's a major fire, a fire extinguisher helps contain the damage while the firefighters are on their way.
The good news is that fire extinguishers are simple to use, portable, and don't pose any danger, so you can keep them in strategic locations of your home. Other fire safety equipment that you can invest in are fire sprinklers which are a great preventive measure that will automatically put out the fire. Fire safety equipment like sprinklers is considered as a form of active fire protection compared to passive forms of fire protection, such as fire doors and fire escapes. Generally, fire safety equipment is more affordable than repairing fire damage, so it's a good investment to make.
Fire-Proof Your Home
There are many ways to fire-proof your home and protect it from fire accidents. To begin with, you should do a clean-up of your home and, where possible, remove anything that might act as fuel for the fire. For instance, you can replace carpets with fire-resistant carpets that are not made from synthetic materials or wool. You can also spray your carpets with fire-retardant chemicals, so they don't burn readily. Similarly, you can also look at areas outside close to you and see what you can do to minimize the spread of fire.
Clear any dead plants or debris in your home. If you have flammable plants or trees, consider replacing them with fire-resistant plants and trees. If you were planning for a roof replacement in the future, consider buying a roof that's made from fireproof material and has been treated with fire-retardant chemicals. Don't forget to remove debris from your gutters and, if possible, install a pond or pool, so you have a viable source of water to quench the fire in the worst-case scenario.
Prepare a Fire Safety Plan
Fire preparedness is all about advance planning, and part of that involves making a fire safety plan. Remember, once a fire starts, it can spread very quickly in a matter of minutes, so that's not a good time to start thinking about what to do. Instead, you should have everything planned out in case of the worst-case scenario. Start by walking through your home and inspecting the layout looking for possible exits and escape routes.
Make sure that all the escape routes that you note in your plan are clear and have no obstructions. For instance, if you designate the windows as a way of escaping and they have burglar bars, then you need to ensure that those security bars have emergency release devices that allow them to be opened quickly in an emergency. If you have children, they should also know about this plan, and you should clearly outline the different ways they can get out of the home in case of a fire accident. Overall, a fire safety plan should clearly detail all the actions you can take under different scenarios.
Perform Fire Drills
Now that you have a fire safety plan in place, it's now time to practice your plan. As mentioned, since a fire can happen at any time, it's best to run a fire drill at the most unexpected time, such as in the middle of the night or at a time when your family is completely relaxed. Practicing at such times can be beneficial since it teaches everyone to remain calm when a fire emergency eventually strikes. When practicing regular fire drills, you have the opportunity to make sure that the fire plan you created works. You can use different escape routes, like doors, windows, and escape ladders. Once everyone manages to escape outside, they should wait outside until after the fire drill is over, just as they would in a real-life situation.
You should also explore the scenario where there might be no escape routes. In that case, everyone should know the right actions to take, such as sealing cracks around the doors and vents that may be letting smoke in. Windows should be open to letting air in from outside. Otherwise, lack of ventilation can lead to smoke inhalation, which can be fatal. Everyone should know the stop, droll, and roll technique in case clothes catch fire. In addition, whatever the scenario, it's imperative to contact 911 as soon as possible.
After you have finished practicing your plan, you can then restore order and resume life while still planning to perform regular drills in the future. Usually, it's best to perform a fire drill at least twice a year. If you're not sure whether you're doing the fire drills right, you can always contact your local fire station and speak with professionals who can provide more valuable tips you can apply. They can also provide recommendations for which fire safety equipment to have in your home and the best time to schedule smoke alarm inspections. This will go a long way towards increasing your fire preparedness.
There's a lot you can do to prepare for a fire and minimize the damage. You have already taken the first step of learning more about fire preparedness and the importance of fire safety equipment. Now the next thing is to go over everything discussed, apply these tips, and develop fire-safe habits. Your future self will thank you!