While most of us understand the value of smoke alarms, these should only be one part of your home fire prevention plan. There are many other ways to protect your family from fire. Here is some advice on how to help your family stay safe.
Have at least one smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector on each floor
You may need more depending upon your home’s layout. It’s an inexpensive – and imperative – first line of defense against fire and the odorless, deadly CO gas. Keep them in working order by testing them monthly and replacing batteries every 6 months. Replace smoke alarms every 8-10 years, CO alarms every 5.
Prevent electrical fires
Inspect electrical cords regularly and discard them if they are frayed. Never plug too many cords into a single socket, and keep the cords away from sources of heat and water.
Use appliances with care
Appliances can overheat, resulting in flames and smoke. Keep cords and wires out from under rugs, hanging over nails, or in the middle of a high traffic area. An unusual smell emitting from an appliance is a warning sign, so replace old or broken parts immediately.
Use portable heaters wisely
Every year you read news stories during the winter about fires caused by portable heaters. You must be extremely careful when using these devices. Keep heaters at least three feet away from furniture, curtains, bed linens, clothing, and any other combustible items.
Safety-proof your fireplace
Use a heavy, well-built screen to protect against rolling logs and make sure that the screen is large enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to keep flying sparks and hot embers inside. Make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
Retrofit security bars on windows
While security bars are a smart way to keep intruders out, they can also impede escape in the event of a fire. Retrofit the bars with quick-release devices.
Have a fire escape plan
Your final step should be an evacuation plan. The plan should include at least two ways out of every room in your home. Make sure to share it with every household member and practice it occasionally.