The issue of fire safety is extremely important. Every year, more than 400,000 household fires are reported in the United States and more than 3,000 people die in these. A staggering statistic states that one in ten of these fire victims are children. However, it is unfortunate that safety is not always an issue that comes to mind when we go about our daily routine. Yet, in our homes, there may be dangers that can take lives and destroy our properties.
Understand the Dangers
Most residential fire deaths occur because of inhalation of toxic gas, rather than contact with flames. The tragedy is that many of these deaths could be prevented by taking a few precautions. Here are some general tips that you should take note of:
General Fire Prevention Tips
Do not plug too many appliances into an electrical outlet.
Make sure that combustibles are not too close to heaters, stoves and fireplaces.
Never smoke in bed or soft furniture.
Do not use damaged or frayed electrical cords or extension cords.
Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
Teach your children about the dangers of playing with fire.
Never use extension cords with heating or air conditioning equipment.
Purchase smoke alarms and fire extinguishers for each floor of your home.
Have an Emergency Escape Plan and practice it frequently.
Important Things to Consider
The most obvious way out of a burning house or building may be blocked by fire or smoke. Remember that the smoke of a home fire is extremely dense and toxic and it takes any vision, so, if a downstairs room is on fire, a window will usually be the only way out of a room upstairs. Therefore, make sure that screens or storm windows can be easily removed. Ensure that you have tools available if windows must be broken.
you live in a two-story home, you should have an escape ladder for each occupied bedroom. Escape ladders are available for purchase, and they can easily be stored under a bed or in a closet. Please note that your anticipated escape route, for example over a bay window, might well be blocked if the fire rages in the room below.
If you are exiting with young children, the parent to whom the children are most attached to should lead the way, as children will be more likely to follow. Establish a meeting place outside your home to be sure everyone has escaped. Every family member should participate in practice escape drills.
In the event of fire, do not stop to get dressed or gather valuables. Seconds count. Do not even bother to search for the family pet.
Teach your family that, in a fire, they must stay low to the floor to avoid smoke. Passageways may be completely filled with dense smoke so everyone should practice exiting on their hands and knees while blindfolded. Train family members to feel any closed door on the exit route before opening. If the door is warm, open it slowly, and close it quickly if heat or smoke rushes in.
Establish a rule that once you're out, you never re-enter under any circumstances. As soon as two people have reached the meeting place, one should call 911 from a nearby house. The earlier a fire is detected, the less risk there is to your life. Fire alarms and smoke detectors also play a very important role in this.
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