From Grandma to the Toddler

Fire safety is an issue for the WHOLE family.  A little forethought and planning now can save you both headaches and risk down the line.  Setting aside some time to review fire safety precautions with everyone in your home can help you create a living environment that is fire safe.  This is your personal responsibility, as knowledge will give you the best possible chance of getting out alive should the unforeseen ever happen.  Responsible homeowners know it’s not a question of luck but a matter of planning ahead.

Fires can happen at any time.  Knowing what to do in the event of a fire can help save your life and the lives of everyone in your home.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires in 2011; these fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.  Unfortunately, many people are either unaware of the fire risks or simply choose to ignore them.

Knowing what to do in case of a fire saves lives. A plan that no one knows is just a piece of paper.

Knowing what to do in case of a fire saves lives. A plan that no one knows is just a piece of paper.

It Can Happen. It Does Happen. 

Three out of five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarm present (37%), or at least one was present but none operated (23%).  Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm.  These can be purchased at any hardware, discount or big-box store and are relatively inexpensive.  One smoke alarm should be installed on every level of your home.  Working smoke alarms can double your chances of survival in the event of a house fire.  As a precautionary measure, you should test each smoke alarm monthly, keep it free of dust, and replace the batteries yearly.  As long as they are maintained properly, most smoke alarms have a life expectancy ranging from eight to ten years, after which time the whole unit should be replaced.

Create the Plan and Practice, Practice, Practice…

All homeowners should also consider developing a fire escape plan.  This plan should identify two ways to get out of every room in the house.  If one way is blocked by fire, an additional escape route may be necessary.  Developing the plan, however, isn’t enough.  Families should also practice their escape plans.  As part of the escape plan, you should choose a place to meet outside to make it easier to determine who, if anyone, is still in the house.  It is important to remember that no one, under any circumstances, should ever go back into a burning house.

Learning about fire safety and prevention is one of the most important things you can do not only for yourself but also for everyone in your home.  With any fire, there can be a price to pay in both loss of life and loss of property; however, the sooner fires are detected the better.  Smaller fires are easier to put out and usually do far less damage.  The best way to stop fires is to simply keep them from starting in the first place.  This means you should always be aware of the potential hazards in your home.  A few simple steps will ensure that you and your loved ones remain safe for many years to come.