Fire safety is an important part of keeping ourselves safe at home. With simple solutions and planning ahead, we can keep ourselves, families, pets, and possessions safe and out of harms way. Fires can start for many different reasons and the first step to success is to know and understand potential fire hazards. The following is a basic guide to help you learn about fire safety and the different steps to protect yourself in case of a fire.
Fire Safety Tips
There are many different fire safety tips that can help keep you safe. Installing a smoke detector is a great start. Smoke detectors should be installed near bedrooms, in kitchens, and at least one on each floor of your home; for example, you may one to install one upstairs, and another one down stairs. Test the smoke detectors in your home once a month to make sure they function properly and are ready to do their job when needed. Your should also change the batteries in the smoke alarms in the fall and spring.
Along with your smoke detectors, you should also have at least one fire extinguisher. Filled with a foamy substance, fire extinguishers smother the flames and may help to prevent the spread of small kitchen or trashcan fires until help arrives. Many households choose to keep a fire extinguisher in their kitchen and in their garage.
Other helpful tips include making it a habit to sleep with your bedroom door closed and keeping a flashlight handy in case of an emergency. Understanding common fire hazards and how to protect yourself during a fire is also important.
Common Fire Hazards
A house fire can be caused by many different things, and it only needs a small spark to get started. The following is a list of common fire hazards that may be lurking in and around your home:
- Smoking/lit cigarettes
- Open flames from a stove top burner
- Candles left unattended around children and/or pets
- Unemptied dryer lint traps
- Especially dry brush or leaves
- Old, worn, or frayed electrical cords
- Overfilled electrical outlets and power strips
- Unsafe fire places or stoves
These are only a few of the fire hazards that may be around your home. A good rule of thumb is to keep anything flammable, things that can easily catch on fire, away from anything that might be too hot. Take a look around your home and see if you can spot any fire hazards. If you do, let a grown up know immediately and share what you've learned about fire safety.
Fire Safety Plan
Having a household fire emergency plan is a great way to share your knowledge of fire safety, practice in case of an emergency, and help younger kids to keep themselves safe. With the help of your family, learn all of the different ways out of your home, this can include the front door, backdoor, garage door, or ground level windows. Understanding the different ways to exit your home is important, because if a fire is blocking your way out, you'll need a back up plan, fast!
Set up a common meeting place for you and your family once you've exited the house. For example, the mailboxes across the street, of the closest stop sign to your home might be a good spot to meet and wait for help to arrive. It is important that everyone know the fire safety plan, so practice it a few times a year; you may even way to test your smoke alarms at the same time, so everyone learns to recognize the sound and understands what it means.
In Case of a Fire
In case of a fire, it is important to stay calm and alert; this will help you to think clearly and remember the fire safety techniques and plans that you've practiced. It is also important to stay low to the grown and be aware of your surroundings. For example, if you are in your bedroom and there is a fire in the hallway, blocking your exit through the front door, what would you do? First you will recognize the smoke detector and understand that there may be a fire. If you have a phone and it is safe, dial 9-1-1 to report a possible house fire to your local fire department. Staying low to the ground, so you don't breath in harmful smoke, you may make reach the door. Carefully touch the door, if it is hot, it is not safe to open and exit; instead, you may need to exit through a ground level window if you have one in your room. If not, wait for a grown up for help.
If your clothing catches on fire, it is important to remember three easy steps:
- STOP what you are doing.
- DROP to the ground.
- ROLL around to smother the fire.
Once you've exited the home, on your own or with the help of an adult, go to the preplanned meeting place and wait. It is important that the meeting spot is a safe distance from the house and the under no circumstances do you reenter the house. Entering a house that is on fire is extremely dangerous; the only people who may go in are fire fighters with their protective gear and tools.
Check out the following resources to help you learn more about fire safety and what you should do in the event of a house fire.
By: Lisa Smith