An average of 358,500 residential house fires occurs in the United States every year. If you’re worried about keeping your home and your loved ones safe, that might seem like a scary statistic. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent your house from going up in flames, such as fireproofing and developing a safety plan. Read on to discover four steps you can take to protect your family home from a fire.
Check Smoke Detectors
Keeping your smoke detectors in good working order is one of the most important things you can do to keep your family safe from fires. Test your detectors once a month by pressing the test button and make sure the alarm can be heard in all areas of your home. Replace or recharge the batteries every six months even if they still seem to work and get new smoke detectors every 10 years.
Focus on Fire Prevention
The best way to protect your home from fires is to prevent them. Don’t leave kitchen burners unattended, avoid using space heaters and always unplug hair irons after use. Faulty electrical systems are a common source of residential fires, so hire an electrical contractor to inspect your outlets and wiring. Consider installing fireproofing measures like fire blocks in walls and ceilings and keep valuables in a fireproof safe.
Exercise Fire Safety
It’s always best to avoid using fire in and around your home. However, it’s important to be as safe as possible if you choose to light candles, burn leaves or have a backyard campfire. Never leave any fire unattended and always have a hose or bucket of water ready to put it out. Always check for burn bans and restrictions in your area before starting an outdoor fire.
Have an Action Plan
Your family may have as little as two minutes to escape from a house fire once the smoke alarms sound, so make use of those precious seconds by developing a plan and practicing it often. Determine the best evacuation routes out of your home and establish an outdoor meeting place for everyone to gather during a fire. Teach your children how to stop, drop, and roll, and make sure they know how to open windows.
Although taking steps to protect your home from a fire can prevent damage and injuries, your local fire department is the most important factor in saving your home once a fire breaks out. Many smaller fire departments are staffed by volunteers, so consider donating your money or time.
By Lizzie Weakley
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.