While house fires are more frequent in the winter months, it is important to know that fires occur year-round. Knowledge of fire safety helps mitigate the risk. This requires an understanding of fire hazards, knowing how to prevent a fire, and what to do in case a fire breaks out.
Common Causes of House Fires
In the average household, the most common causes of fire are careless kitchen practices and heating sources.
It’s easy to become distracted by other activities and overlook hazards. A towel placed too close to a hot stove might catch fire. Flammable items like curtains and furniture that are placed too close to a space heater may ignite. Creosote build-up may cause the chimney to catch fire and spread to the home. Fires start and spread quickly and, on average, a family has less than two minutes to escape the home once a fire begins.
How to Prevent a Fire in the Home
Prevention is simple compared to dealing with the devastation that results from a house fire. Here are a few tips to keep your family and your home safe.
– Install Smoke Alarms for Fire Safety
Make sure your home has smoke alarms on each level of the building, in each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. Set a reminder to test them monthly and replace the entire unit every ten years.
– Know Basic Fire Safety Measures
Always be alert and aware when preparing food in your kitchen. This includes staying nearby while your food is cooking to avoid accidents. Keep flammable items, like napkins and paper towels, away from a hot stove.
Space heaters are commonly used during the colder months of the year. When using a space heater, place it a safe distance from anything flammable, away from small children and pets, and never leave these appliances unattended. Turn the heater off when you leave the room or go to bed.
– Create an Escape Plan and Practice It
It is important that every household has a fire escape plan. Work with your family members to determine two exits from each room. Practice your escape routes so everyone feels comfortable leaving the house quickly in the event of a fire.
What To Do in Case of Fire
As mentioned above, if there is a fire, it is essential to act quickly. If the fire is small and manageable, first try using a fire extinguisher. This should only be attempted for a small fire that isn’t spreading. To use the extinguisher, remember “PASS.” Pull the pin, aim at the base of the fire, squeeze the handle, and sweep the hose back and forth.
If you are unable to extinguish the flames, exit the home quickly and call for emergency services. Leave the building as fast as possible and meet your family at a designated gathering spot a safe distance from the house.
Fire Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility
Fire safety means taking steps to prevent fires and limit damage and injuries if a fire starts. When everyone follows best practices, you can work together to keep your home and your family safe.