I told my Monthly Newsletter readers about this blog, and I hope all my readers are joining me here to find out what you can do to prevent home fires and what to do if one occurs.
Did you know that home fires make up the majority of the 70,000 annual disasters that the American Red Cross responds to each year? And when fires strike, experts estimate that you may have as little as 2 minutes to exit a burning home.
With such a high prevalence paired with a limited reaction time, it’s critical to ensure that you and your family are ready should this happen to you.
Here are some useful tips:
- Check Your Alarms.
Because fires can grow quickly and sometimes silently, the first line of defense in your home is your smoke alarm. To ensure those detectors will work hard for you when you need it, schedule regular battery tests. A good rule of thumb is to check your alarms twice a year when Daylight Savings Time begins (Spring) and ends (Autumn). Working alarms can make all the difference if a fire starts unnoticed in your home.
- Clean Your Chimneys.
Many home fires start in the chimney, due to the left-behind residue of burning material called creosote. Creosote is black to brown in color and can be crusty, flaky, or sticky; it is highly combustible. If it builds up and the flue temperature is high enough – the result could be a chimney fire which can spread to the roof of the home.
- Create An Exit Strategy.
Get every member of the household together and discuss what to do and what not to do for a fire of any scale. Who will be the point person to act if the fire is small and manageable? If the fire is uncontrollable, discuss the best and quickest emergency exists and how to stay safe. It’s necessary to have a set plan of action, but it’s also important to teach your family to respond fast and flexible, so review a variety of options in case you need to shift at a moment’s notice.
- Practice Makes Perfect.
As many as 82% of Americans have never practiced a fire drill at home, an essential step in home fire preparedness. Schedule time with your family to run-through how to escape from any room in the house to safety. Review your escape times, highlighting just how serious it is to exit a burning home fast.