Fire Prevention Tips for Your Home
The second week of October is designated as Fire Prevention Week. As a company that strives to keep all homes healthy and safe, we cannot think of any better place to start than with making sure you and your family are ready in case a fire should occur.
Prevent Fires from Happening
The best way to protect yourself and your family from a fire is to prevent one from happening. Keep items that can catch fire (think drapes, papers, dish towels) at least three feet from anything that gets hot, turn portable heaters off when you leave a room or go to sleep and always stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food.
Have at Least One Working Smoke Alarm Per Level
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, you should install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test it monthly, keep it free from dust and replace the battery at least once a year (we like to coincide the battery change with the time change in spring—it is part of our spring cleaning routine). Smoke alarms should be replaced after ten years of service or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Pay Attention to Carbon Monoxide
The American Red Cross has found that each year carbon monoxide poisoning claims approximately 480 lives and sends another 15,200 people to the hospital. Install a carbon monoxide alarm in the hallway of your home sleeping areas, make sure all appliances are installed correctly, have heating systems inspected regularly and never burn charcoal or use a gas grill inside your home
Create an Escape Plan
We love this tool from SafeKids.org—a Fire Escape Plan template. The template lets you draw your escape plan on a grid, identifying important elements such as placement of each smoke alarm, exit areas for your home (you should have two ways to get out of each room in case of a fire) and the designated safe meeting area outside. Practice escaping from every room and see how fast your family can get outside. If you live in an apartment building, make sure you know your building’s Fire Safety Plan (building owners in NYC are required to have this by law).
Know How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
Remember the word PASS when using a fire extinguisher: Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you; Aim low at the base of the fire; Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly; Sweep the nozzle from side to side. Only use an extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area and is not growing, the room is not filled with smoke, everyone has exited the building and the fire department has been called.
Extra Info for Apartment Living
There are special areas of concern when it comes to fire safety in apartment buildings. Here are some things you should know according to the FDNY’s checklist:
- Is your apartment door fireproof and self-closing?
- Is your fire escape window clear and unobstructed?
- If you have a security gate, is it FDNY approved?
- Can all windows be opened easily from inside?
- Are building stairways free of storage and rubbish?
- Are stairway fire doors fireproof and self-closing?
- Are stairway fire doors kept closed?
- Are exit lights in the stairway in good working order?
Talk to us: What other tips do you have for keeping yourself and your family safe from fires?
image courtesy of flickr/BY CC 2.0