Home fires are dangerous and devastating. Each year fires cost nearly 347 billion in the United States. Costs can include medical treatment, property loss and damage, fire department costs, and lawsuits, just to name a few. Even worse, some 3200 people, including 85 firefighters lose their lives each year. Clearly, fire protection and prevention is essential to you and your family.
You can help to make your home safe and secure by using a few precautionary steps. You can start by using the checklist below.
Perform a thorough inspection of smoke detectors once a month by pressing the test button. Change your smoke detectors batteries twice a year, when you reset the clocks for daylight savings time. There should be one smoke detector in each bedroom, and a minimum of one detector on each level of the home.
Put together a list of emergency fire, police and medical phone numbers and keep it near your house phone. You could also program the numbers into the cell phones of adult family members in case you have to leave the house before placing the call. Teach your children how to call for help in case of an emergency.
Keep your house or rural fire number clear and visible from at least 20 feet away. If trees or bushes are obscuring the house or rural fire number, trim the foliage back. It is important that emergency personnel can readily see these numbers.
Flammable liquids should be kept away from heating sources. During many home inspections I find Paints and thinners stored in the area of the furnace and water heater. Store them in a cool location away from paper products and cloth materials. Storing flammable liquids and materials in the utility area around the furnace or water heater should be avoided.
Although a newer concept in residential homes, consider investing in residential fire sprinklers. If your home already has them, they should be inspected by trained professionals on a regular basis.
After completing your Inspection checklist, it is important to sit down with your family and create a detailed emergency plan. Determine at least two ways of escaping from every room in your house. If you have upper floors to your home, you may want to consider purchasing chain link safety ladders for each bedroom. Also, take the time to determine a safe meeting place outside of your home that everyone would go to in case of an emergency. Have your family practice a couple of times a year and make sure that everyone has memorized how to get out of the house, and where to meet. Knowing that everyone in your home knows how to escape a fire emergency, and where to meet will help you to rest easier.