Your home is not only a place of shelter, it’s a safe place for you to rest after a long day, raise your family or spend time with friends and loved ones. Because home fires happen, it’s important to consider these fire safety tips to keep you, your family and your home safe.
U.S. fire departments responded to a home fire every 86 seconds in 2015 on average, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
It may be tempting to start cooking a meal and return a short time later, but it’s important not to leave a grill or stove unattended. If you need to leave, be sure to turn them off. Other safety precautions FEMA recommends when cooking include:
- Wearing short or tightly rolled sleeves.
- Keeping children at least 3 feet from the stove.
- Placing outdoor grills at least 10 feet away from your house and away from overhanging branches.
The pretty glow or sweet smell of candles may make your home feel more inviting, but they can cause home fires. If you burn candles in your home, consider these safety precautions:
- Blow out your candles before you leave a room or before you go to sleep.
- Be sure there isn’t anything within 12 inches of the candles that could catch fire.
- Use a sturdy candle holder.
If you smoke, you’ll want to follow these important fire safety tips:
- Never smoke in bed.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used.
- Be sure the cigarette/cigar is completely out in an ashtray.
- Don’t throw hot cigarettes or ashes in the trashes, be sure to soak them in water be throwing them away.
Because fires can start due to frayed wires from appliances, take time to look at your appliances’ cords to be sure they are not worn, old or damaged. Frayed/damaged cords can cause fires. Be sure cords do not run under carpets or rugs. For appliances with a three-prong plug, never make it fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
Fire Safety Tips for Children
Kids may be intrigued by fire, so be sure to teach them about fire safety and emphasize it’s not a toy or a game. Be sure to keep matches and lighters out of a child’s reach. And don’t leave children unattended near an open flame.
Combustible and Flammable Liquids
Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
Never use portable generators indoors. Be sure to refuel your portable generator outdoors in a well- ventilated area.
Heating Your Home
Heating your home safely is crucial for preventing home fires. Never use your stove, oven or range to heat your home. Additionally, be sure to turn off and unplug space heaters when they are not in use.
Additional Safety Precautions
If a fire does occur in your home you may have very little time to react. Preparing your home and your family now is a smart move to ensure everyone’s safety.
Smoke Alarms/Smoke Detectors
Smoke alarms and detectors save lives. The NFPA recommends you:
- Install “smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.” For levels without bedrooms, smoke alarms should be installed in the living room and/or near the stairway to the second floor.
- Interconnect all smoke alarms, so when one sounds they all sound.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month by using the test button.
In addition to following these fire prevention and safety tips, having a fire extinguisher in your home can help put out or contain a small fire. However, because fires can spread quickly, the primary response is getting out safely.
Creating and practicing a fire escape plan for your home ensures every member of your family knows how to safely evacuate should a fire occur. Be sure to discuss and designate a safe meeting place.
Taking these steps are important to keep your home, yourself and loved ones safe. Talk with your Farm Bureau insurance agent to be sure your home and property insurance offers the right amount of coverage in case the worst should happen. It’s important to understand the possessions you’re covering, and it starts with creating a home inventory kit that lists your belongings.