Having the family home ravaged by a fire can be a devastating experience, financially and emotionally. Preventing such occurrences can be as simple as reducing or eliminating risks and exposures. Here are some useful tips:
Avoid wearing long sleeves when cooking as they can easily catch fire. Keep handles of pots and pans turned inward, to lessen the chance of their being accidently knocked over.
Daily household trash should be kept in a covered can away from any heat source.
Don’t allow storage or build-up of unusually large amounts of paper products. Recycle newspapers frequently.
Keep the house free of oily rags and trash build-up.
Gasoline and other flammable liquids should be stored in approved, metal safety cans.
Cleaning materials should be kept in a ventilated area, away from any heat source. Vapors given off by cleaning substances can ignite when they come in contact with a heat source, such as a pilot light.
If the house has a fireplace, make sure it is properly screened and install a spark arrestor with at least a half-inch mesh on the chimney.
Teach children not to play with matches. Keep matches in a closed metal container away from heat sources and out of the reach of children.
Never leave candles burning unattended.
Carelessly discarded cigarettes are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States.
Remove all weeds, tree branches and litter from your yard.
Never put foil or other metals in a microwave oven.
Check lamps, appliance cords and light switches to make sure there is no faulty wiring.
Never overload electrical circuits.
Allow adequate ventilation space around televisions, stereos and other entertainment equipment.
Preparation is a key to fire safety
In order to be better prepared in the event of a fire, family members should take part in drills, so that they will know what to do in the event a fire occurs. Some fire safety tips include:
Go through a practice drill every six months. With the whole family, practice what to do in a fire emergency.
Make sure all family members know how to dial 911 in case of an emergency.
Have at least two exits from every room in the house. Invest in fire escape ladders for upstairs bedrooms.
Assign a tree or other landmark where family members can meet after they escape the burning house.
Teach children never to go back in the house. Train them not to hide from fire under beds, in closets or other places where rescuers cannot easily find them.
Proper planning can reduce losses and save loved ones. Inspecting the home for instances where fire hazards occur can end up saving a homeowner both a small fortune and their lives.