Keep your family safe from fire, be aware of the hazards in your home and be sure to have an escape plan. Also, pull together everyone in your household and make a plan, walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.
Here are some fire safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association. If you want to learn more, please visit https://www.nfpa.org/
Smoke Alarm Safety
Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.
- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
- It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
- Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
- There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home.
- A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
- People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
- Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.
Plan Your Escape
Your ability to get out of your house during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning.
- Get everyone in your household together and make a home escape plan (PDF, 1.1 MB). Walk through your home and look for two ways out of every room.
- Make sure escape routes are clear of debris and doors and windows open easily. Windows with security bars or grills should have an emergency release device.
- Plan an outside meeting place where everyone will meet once they have escaped. A good meeting place is something permanent, like a tree, light pole, or mailbox a safe distance in front of the home.
- If there are infants, older adults, family members with mobility limitations or children who do not wake to the sound of the smoke alarm, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the event of an emergency.
- If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Respond quickly – get up and go, remember to know two ways out of every room, get yourself outside quickly, and go to your outside meeting place with your family.
Children and Smoke Alarms
NFPA is aware of research indicating that sleeping children don't always awake when a smoke alarm activates. While this research is worrisome, we shouldn't allow them to obscure the fact that smoke alarms are highly effective at reducing fire deaths and injuries.
NFPA reaffirms the value of the smoke alarms already available to protect people from home fire deaths and voice its concern about the number of U.S. households without these early warning devices. While 96% of American homes have at least one smoke alarm, no smoke alarms were present or none operated in two out of five (41%) of the reported home fires between 2003-2006. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
NFPA emphasizes the need to continue planning and practicing home fire escape plans and to make sure everyone in a home can be awakened by the sound of the smoke alarm. NFPA suggests practicing the escape plan during which the smoke alarm is activated so all family members know its sound.
Every home fire escape plan is different, and every family should know who will - and who won't - awaken at the sound of the smoke alarm. If someone doesn't wake up when the alarm sounds during a drill, the family should design an escape plan that assigns a grown-up who is easily awakened by the alarm to wake the sleepers, perhaps by yelling "FIRE," pounding on the wall or door, or blowing a whistle.
There is something about the winter months and curling up with a goodbook by the fireplace. But did you know that heating equipment is one ofthe leading causes of home fire deaths? With a few simple safety tips andprecautions you can prevent most heating fires from happening.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet (one metre) away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot (one metre) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
In 2011-2015, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 54,030 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 480 civilian deaths, 1,470 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 15% of all reported home fires.
Dan Doofus learns some important safety lessons about home heating.
Facts & Figures
Based on 2011-2015 annual averages:
- Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for just over two of every five (43%) of home heating fires and four out of five (85%) of home heating fire deaths.
- The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
- Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the third leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half (53%) of home heating fire deaths.
- Nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.