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According to a 2019 report from the National Fire Protection Association, over 354,400 home fires occurred during the five-year span between 2013 and 2017. To make matters worse, these fires resulted in more than 2,600 civilian deaths and over 11,200 injuries. Additionally, these unfortunate incidents caused just under $7 billion in fire related property damage.
Needless to say, the devastation that a fire causes depends on how well prepared that homeowners are. Being prepared prevents them from becoming victims of devastating fires both physically and financially. Here are some important fire safety tips that all homeowners should know. Read More https://homesafetydot.com/fire-safety/
How to Prevent Home Fires
The NFPA says that fire departments in the United States respond to a home fire roughly every 86 seconds. That amounts to more than 1,000 fires every day. Unfortunately, many of these fires were preventable. In fact, some of the best fire safety tips involve knowing how to prevent fires in the first place.
In order to prevent fires, homeowners have to know the most common causes of fires within the home. The U.S. Fire Administration says that the majority of home fires are caused by cooking and heating equipment during the winter.
Although, smoking indoors, leaving candles unattended and faulty electronics cause their fair share of house fires too. While house fires aren’t 100% avoidable, homeowners can reduce the chances of them sparking:
Don’t smoke indoors.
Avoid using fixed and portable space heaters.
Never leave candles unattended.
Install smoke alarms on every floor of a house and in every bedroom.
Never leave food unattended while cooking.
Routine Care for Smoke Detectors
For many homeowners, smoke detectors are the first line of defense against fires. For that reason, making sure that they’re in proper working order is an important fire safety tip. Homeowners who haven’t touched their smoke detectors in years should do some basic maintenance to ensure that the devices still work properly.
Clean and Test
Every six months, homeowners should not only test but also clean their smoke detectors. Most detectors have a button on the front that they can press to ensure that the alarms are working.
When testing smoke detectors, it’s a good idea to clean them as well. Using a vacuum hose and attachments, homeowners can suck the dust and cobwebs out of the devices. If enough dust and debris builds up inside, they won’t function properly.
Pro Tip: Avoid lighting matches or blowing out candles next to smoke detectors to check if they work. Repeated use of smoke to check them can make the units fail.
Most homeowners wait until their smoke detectors start beeping before they replace the batteries. That said, they should actually be replacing these batteries every year. Low battery levels might not always cause the units to beep but can hamper their ability to accurately detect smoke.
Replace Each Unit
Smoke detectors last a long time, but they don’t last forever. Over time, the units fail and no longer properly do their job. Homeowners should replace smoke detectors every 10 years. It’s a good idea to write down the installation dates on the units themselves. Then, it’s easier to determine when to replace them.
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Another important safety tip is for everyone to learn how to use fire extinguishers. Once fires start, there’s a small window of opportunity for people to put them out with extinguishers. When they spend too much time trying to figure out how to use them, they can no longer safely put out the fires.
Thankfully, remembering how to use fire extinguishers is easy. In fact, people only have to remember one word: PASS. This acronym stands for the steps that are required to use extinguishers:
P — Pull the pin. When pulling the pin, hold the fire extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away. A — Aim low. When aiming at the fire, direct the extinguisher at its base. S — Squeeze. With the extinguisher pointed in the right direction and at the base of the fire, squeeze the trigger slowly. S — Sweep. While squeezing the trigger, sweep the nozzle of the extinguisher side to side.
Of course, knowing how to use fire extinguishers is just the start. It’s just as important to know about the different types of extinguishers. There are five kinds, and each is used for putting out different fires. Most extinguishers are rated for multiple classes, such as with the innovative new Elide Fire Extinguisher Ball.
Class A fire extinguishers are best for putting out fires that are started with materials such as paper, wood and cloth. Most home extinguishers have Class A ratings.
Class B extinguishers are used to put out fires that start from combustible liquids. These include gasoline, oil and grease. Once again, most home extinguishers also have Class B ratings.
Class C extinguishers are rated for putting out fires that start with electrical equipment. This includes fires that start as a result of computers, television or home appliances. Class C is another common rating for home fire extinguishers.
Class D extinguishers are used for putting out flammable metals. These types of fire extinguishers are less common at home but are more often found in factories and workshops.
Class K extinguishers are rated highly for putting out cooking oil fires on a large scale, such as vegetable oil fires in restaurants. Unlike Class B extinguishers, they’re rated for commercial kitchens.
Most extinguishers that people buy for their homes have Class A, B and C ratings. Each one clearly marks the fires that it’s rated to extinguish.
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Homeowners might want to consider picking up other fire safety equipment beyond fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. For instance, it’s ideal to have carbon monoxide alarms if their homes are connected to natural gas or have gas fireplaces. Many smoke alarms double as carbon monoxide detectors. However, they should check for this when they buy the alarms.
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In addition, homeowners should consider buying fire escape ladders, especially when they own multistory homes. In some cases, they may be unable to use the stairs to escape their houses during fires. Escape ladders make it possible to easily escape from windows on second or even third floors depending on the lengths of the ladders.
With that said, homeowners should practice using the escape ladders before they experience actual fires. It’s good for adults and children to get accustomed to using them so that they know how to do it in the heat of the moment.
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Fire blankets are a great tool for defeating fires. With proper use, fire blankets have the ability to save lives and property, making them a must-buy for any household. Fire blankets aren’t a substitute for fire extinguishers or other fire-safety devices, but they are a useful addition to any safety kit.
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The term smoke hood may not be one with which you are familiar, or perhaps you know it by another name. They are also sometimes called escape respirators, smoke respirators, or smoke masks. The primary purpose of smoke hoods are to allow you and your family to escape in the event of a fire in your home. They filter out the harmful fumes, particles and chemicals that are released during a fire. Read More: iEvac EBP 900 – America’s Only Certified Smoke Hood/Fire Mask.
Creating Fire Escape Plans
If there’s anything that people should know when it comes to fire safety it’s that every second counts when the flames ignite. Because of that, it’s vital for families to create fire escape plans in the event that fires occur.
Most fire safety measures can get families out of their houses within two minutes after hearing the fire alarms. Every family member should try dialing 911. It’s important not to rely on one person to call for help. An event could arise in which that person isn’t home or is unable to make the call during the fire.
When creating escape plans, it’s a good idea for families to draw out floor plans of their homes. The reason is that young children tend to be visual learners. Also, they can leave the escape plans posted up in their houses as a reminder of what to do.
Within the escape plans, it’s essential for everyone to meet at one location once they’re outside. With a single meeting location, it’s easy to tell who made it out of the house safely and who may still be in danger.
Lastly, families must practice their escape plans a few times. It might even be necessary to practice each year to ensure that children are still familiar with what to do.
Don’t Be Caught Unprepared, Study These Fire Safety Tips
These fire safety tips can save lives, and in some cases they may even help lower your homeowners insurance premiums. Most people don’t learn fire safety tips because they think that a house fire won’t happen to them. No one is immune to house fires. For this reason, it’s imperative for people to be prepared. The more knowledge that they have about fire safety, the more likely that they are to come out of a dangerous fire situation unharmed.