Did you know that each year there are over 350,000 residential house fires in the United States? That’s an average of one fire every 85 seconds. Unfortunately these house fires result in over 2,000 deaths, 12,000 injuries, and six billion dollars in property damage.
October is Fire Safety Month and it’s a good time to remind you of a few tips that can keep your home – and most importantly, your family – safe.
Let’s look at a few simple things that should be in place in every home.
Smoke Detectors – Make sure you have working smoke detectors on every level of your home and especially near the bedrooms. If you have devices that are wired into your electrical system, it’s not a bad idea to have some battery-operated units for back-up (and please make sure those batteries are checked regularly!). Also make sure you have one or more all-purpose (ABC) fire extinguishers in the house. Everyone should know where they are located and how to use them.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors – Every year the media reports heartbreaking of stories of people dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. This colorless, odorless gas results from burning fuels. By making sure you have effective monitoring units, your family can sleep soundly.
Don’t Overdo It – With the change in seasons, people start to hang holiday lights, plugging in space heaters, lighting candles, and just basically overwork their outlets and press their luck. Please use common sense, don’t use multiple extension cords (or any frayed cords), make sure any open flames are not close to flammable objects and that they are all extinguished before turning in for the night or leaving the house.
Set Up an Escape Plan – Make sure you and your family have a plan in the event of an emergency. Practice different ways to escape from a burning home – at least two ways from every room. Purchase escape ladders, if needed. Designate a meeting place for everyone to gather to make sure everyone is accounted for.
Most importantly, if a fire occurs at your home, you need to GET OUT, STAY OUT, and CALL FOR HELP.
For more information and tips on home fire safety, please visit https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire.html.