Fire Prevention Tips
Here are some ways that you can prevent a fire in your home or business.
Have Smoke Alarms Installed: Fires often occur at night when you’re asleep and spread so rapidly that some people are overcome by fumes before they even wake up. Smoke alarms will give you early warning and save lives.
Have Fire Extinguishers: That’s plural, as in more than one. Many people just have one for the kitchen, but you should have one in every room, especially if you have a fireplace or use space heaters. Don’t forget the garage and attic where people tend to store gas cans, old clothes, and lots of other combustible stuff.
Watch the Wiring: Electrical fires account for nearly 24,000 residential fires in the US. In 11% of these fires someone died and in 7% someone was seriously injured. Keep a close eye out for frayed wiring, overloaded electrical sockets are a major cause of fires. If you find that a light switch or receptacle plate feels hot, get it replaced immediately by a professional.
Be Careful Cooking: Stay in the kitchen if you’re frying or grilling food. Even a short time out of the room might allow a fire to go unnoticed until it’s too late. Don’t cook with a stove, oven, or grill if you’re sleepy or if you’ve been drinking alcohol. Don’t wear long flowing sleeves when you’re cooking. If you’re cooking with oil, it’s a good idea to have a lid handy for the pan you’re using. A lid will suffocate the fire and give you time to turn the burner off. Don’t try to move the pan or throw water on the burning oil as it will splatter and burn you.
Monitor and Maintain Other Appliances: The lint trap in your clothes dryer can cause fires by overheating the appliance. Clean it out after each load. Replace furnace filters diligently and keep clutter several feet away. Let professionals establish and monitor settings and do the needed repairs and maintenance. Portable space heaters are handy, but be certain to remove any combustible clutter at least 3 feet away in every direction. Get a heater that has an automatic shutoff function if it falls over.
Teach Your Children: Kids are notoriously curious about fire and flames. Teach them that fire is a tool not a toy. Keep kids 3 feet away from cooking stoves and fireplaces except under your direct supervision. Do not let kids handle matches, lighters, or lighted candles. Kids should not be allowed to use barbeque grills and kids should be taught to follow established escape routes from the home in the event of a fire.
Use Sense If You Smoke: Smoking is a fire hazard, so avoid the activity inside the house and, especially, don’t smoke in bed. Avoid smoking when you’re drowsy, on certain meds, or have been drinking alcohol. Make sure that all cigarettes and cigars are completely out before you toss them in the trash. Better yet, have an ashtray with sand in it available. Never smoke in a home in which someone uses oxygen. Oxygen is extremely flammable, even explosive. Come to think about it, isn’t this a great time to quit smoking?
Establish Escape Plans: You should be already looking around the house for at least 2 ways to make a rapid exit from the house. If there’s a second floor, the family should know how to easily open the windows and deploy a ladder, in case they can’t get downstairs. Conduct fire drills regularly so that everyone knows exactly what to do in a fire, with a designated meeting spot outside the home.
You might not be able to protect your family from every calamity but with a little planning and some common sense, you’ll be able to spot every fire hazard short of a flaming meteorite hitting your home. Find those hazards and eliminate them and your home will become a whole lot safer. If you need fire mitigation assistance, call SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City at (313) 228-5134. At SERVPRO, we work to make it “Like it never even happened.”