This week, October 6 – October 12, is Fire Safety Week, which is a good time to get a few reminders about how to prevent fires in your home. Many fires occur from pure carelessness including not having working smoke alarms in the home. This week is the perfect time to take careful inspection of your home to determine if you are putting yourself at risk for a fire:
- You should have smoke alarms in many areas throughout your home, including a few on each level, with one in each sleeping area as well as in the general area outside the sleeping area.
- Check your smoke alarms monthly to ensure that the batteries are still functional. A smoke alarm that does not work is just as dangerous as not having one at all.
- You should have a fire evacuation plan that your entire family understands. Try to practice it as often as possible so that it becomes a natural reaction should a fire occur in your home.
- Make sure that your plan includes adaptations for young children or elderly people that cannot get themselves out of the home on their own.
- Every room should have two ways to exit and every member of your family should be aware of them.
- Talk about the danger of touching door handles if a fire is present and the importance of using the other intended exit if the door is too hot.
- Avoid overloading electrical circuits.
- Keep all electrical cords in good working condition and never hide them under things or nail them down.
- Unplug all appliances while not in use.
- Keep careful watch of all appliances in the kitchen, ensuring that everything is turned off when not in use and that there is no clutter that could easily catch on fire.
The most important thing you can do for you and your family is to plan and practice as often as possible. The more that children practice a routine, the easier it will become for them. Try to simulate what it would be like if there were smoke and fire in your home, including practicing stop, drop and roll. This will help everyone have a thorough understanding of what to do in the event of a fire and will limit the amount of panic that occurs, preventing a safe rescue from the fire.