You have an average of only 2 minutes to make it out of a burning home. Unfortunately, too many people are not being proactive about fire safety. Steps to protect your home and family take little time but can mean everything when it comes to an emergency.
Install Alarms & Check Regularly
- The NFPA and Red Cross fiercely advocate that all homes should have smoke alarms installed. Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a fire by nearly a half. Alarms should be placed in every level of the home, in basements, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas. Consider installing interconnect smoke alarms that will all sound when one sounds.
- Alarms should be tested at least once a month. Batteries will need to be replaced yearly. Schedule a specific time each year or replace when the chirping reminds you the battery is low. Non-replacement 10-year lithium batteries are the exception to this rule.
- Smoke alarms older than 10 years old should be replaced.
Check Cords & Be Cautious with Outlets
- Outlets should never be overloaded. Electrical outlets can only transfer so much electricity. If too many things are plugged in at once, these circuits can become overloaded causing a small explosion or fire.
- Use a power strip to help with overcrowding of outlets. Consider unplugging appliances when not in use. This will save on electricity and help minimize shock and fire risk.
- All electrical and extension cords should be checked regularly for signs of wear and tear or damage. Replace all damaged cords.
- Cords should never be run under carpets, rugs, doors, or windows.
- Only use extension cords on a temporary basis.
- Be aware of cord placement. Make sure they are not in an area that may cause a tripping hazard.
- Never plug a space heater or fan into an extension cord or power strip.
Be Smart with Heat
- Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of house fires. Improper use can be destructive and deadly. All flammables like blankets, towels, and furniture should be placed at least 3 feet away from space heaters. Heaters should be turned off when going to bed or leaving the room.
- If gas heaters are used, be sure to have a carbon monoxide detector installed to avoid CO poisoning.
- Have heaters inspected and cleaned by a qualified professional before the winter season begins. That includes any space heaters, wood-burning devices, or chimneys.
Taking the time to address fire safety is important. Do what is necessary today to keep your home and family safe in the future.
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