A residential fire is a devastating event that can quickly destroy one’s home, precious memories, and may even take the lives of loved ones. For this reason it is important for people to routinely practice fire safety measures. Fire safety often involves steps or rules that are designed to prevent fires and help save lives in the event that one occurs. While it is the responsibility of adults in the home to establish, teach, and enforce these safety rules, children must also be aware of their role in keeping the home safe and fire-free. Some safety tips are specifically meant for certain areas in the home, such as the kitchen for example. Other safety steps are more general and should be followed regardless of where a person may be in the home.
A FEW FIRE FACTS
- Fires that occur in homes without functional smoke alarms account for sixty-five percent of fire deaths.
- Removing fire hazards is the most effective method of ensuring the safety of one’s family.
- Fire escape plans and smoke alarms save lives when practiced routinely.
KITCHEN FIRE PREVENTION
- Never walk away from the kitchen while food is frying, grilling or broiling.
- Avoid leaving home when food items are in the oven baking or roasting.
- Move all flammable items away from the stove and heating elements. This includes paper towels, pot holders and dish towels.
- Never allow pets to jump on counters or other cooking surfaces where their fur can catch on fire or they can accidentally disrupt a surface.
GENERAL FIRE PREVENTION STEPS
- Avoid using items that are powered by gasoline, charcoal, or natural gas anywhere inside the home. This can cause a fire and/or release dangerous carbon monoxide in the air.
- Check portable space heaters to ensure that they are turned off before going to sleep at night or prior to leaving a room unattended.
- Move space heaters and other excessively hot items away from anything that is potentially flammable.
- Keep both children and pets away from flammable items such as lit candles.
- Discuss fire with children, and explain why it is dangerous. Also, explain things that they are not allowed to do, such as playing with matches.
- Avoid smoking when tired, and never smoke in bed.
- Purchase fire alarms for every level in the home.
- Inspect and test all fire alarms monthly.
- Annually replace fire alarm batteries. Replace sooner if the alarm warns of a low battery by chirping.
- Buy new fire alarms once every ten years.
- Don’t confuse fire alarms with carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide alarms do not warn of fire and have a different sound.
- Educate all family members about the alarms in the house. They should recognize what they sound like and what to do when one goes off.
CREATE AND PRACTICE A FIRE ESCAPE PLAN
- Create a plan that has two escape routes per room.
- Designate a safe place for family members to meet away from the home in the event of a fire.
- Instruct each member of the family on how to call 911, stay low during a fire, and if caught on fire, how to stop, drop, and roll.
- Conduct family fire drills at least twice a year.
IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE
- Use fire extinguishers only if properly trained, the fire department has been alerted, and the fire is small and contained.
- Check all door handles for warmth prior to opening them. Never open a door that feels warm or hot to the touch.
- If blocked by fire, keep the door closed and place a wet towel under it. Wave a light or brightly colored object out of an open window for assistance.
- If there are no flames blocking the escape path, stay beneath the smoke by crawling to safety.
- Once outside remain there and call 911.
- Working Together for Home Fire Safety: Beneath a list of clickable topics, readers will find an article that reviews fire prevention and safety tips. The article begins with a section that briefly reviews statistics regarding the number of Americans who die in fires annually.
- What is the Best Way to Keep My Family Safe from a Home Fire: The article on this page reviews how to keep one’s family safe from a fire. People reading the article may also listen to it by clicking on the “Listen” tab.
- Smoking and Home Fire Safety: A PDF fact sheet that reviews the fire related dangers of smoking. A section on the sheet also addresses medical oxygen and smoking.
- Fire Safety – Also Called Fire Prevention: A small section on the MedlinePlus website that very briefly outlines the do’s and don’ts of fire safety. Further down the page there are a number of links to further information on fire prevention.
- Fire Safety: A review of fire safety facts and tips for families. Sections include teaching kids about fire safety, carbon monoxide, fireplace safety, and more.
- Home Fires – Before: Discover useful information about home fires by clicking on any of the six tabs on the page. Readers can learn about fires, what to do before, during and after a fire, and how to prevent home fires. The final section is a tab that lists links to websites that provide the reader with further information.
- Fire Safety – Fire Safety Checklist: A list of actions that people can take to help prevent fires and improve their chances of remaining safe in the event of one.
- Ten Fire Safety Tips – Eliminate Home Fire Hazards: A list of fire safety tips on the Mansfield Fire Department website. In addition to the list of tips, the article includes what to do during a fire.
- Top Ten Fire Safety Tips: A PDF document by the North Carolina Department of Insurance that lists ten fire safety tips. Each of the safety tips includes an explanation.
- Ten Simple Fire Safety Tips: Clicking on this link opens up a PDF brochure from the Stockton Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division. The brochure features fire prevention tips that are useful for the home.
- Fire Safety for Families with Kids: A page that lists top fire safety tips for households with kids. The page also includes facts regarding fire and children.
- Where There’s Smoke: Five Fire Safety Tips: An article on Women’s Day magazine that provides basic advice on how to prevent fires. The page also includes information on the frequency of residential fires.
- Home Fire Safety Sheet: The advice on this PDF document is from the City of Seattle Fire Department and includes a list of ways that people can prevent fires. Each item that is listed is in bold print and followed by related tips.
- PBS Go Arthur Fire Safety Tips: On this PBS Kids page, readers will find fire safety tips that are written with kids in mind. It also reminds kids what to do if they are involved in a fire.
- Preparedness and Fire Safety Tips: On this page readers will find a number of fire safety topics that are followed by tips. The topics include prevention, preparedness, and what to do if caught in a fire.
- Purdue Fire Department Fire Safety Tips: On this page readers are able to view the answers to three basic fire safety questions. The questions include what to do to prevent a fire and stay safe.
- Important Fire Safety Information: Read fire safety information by clicking on this link to Tufts University. The information is presented as a list of things that people can do to stay safe in the event of a fire, and how to avoid fire completely.
- Environmental Health and Safety Fire Safety Tips: Instructions on what to do in various fire related situations. The article starts with “How to Survive a Building Fire” and “If You Get Trapped.”
- Smoke Alarm Safety at Home: Review safety tips regarding smoke alarms. This PDF document also includes smoke alarm related facts.
- Summer Fire Safety: This PDF fire safety document is from the City of New York Fire Department. Information in the document includes various fire safety topics, such as the dangers of gasoline, natural gas in the home, and fireworks.
- Apartment Fire Safety: People who live in apartments will find useful fire safety tips in this PDF handout from the City of Bellevue. The document reviews protection and preparation tips, and what people who cannot use stairs should do during a fire.
- Fire Safety Checklist: On this checklist readers will find information for fire prevention and plans for smoke detection and escape.
- Electrical Fire Safety Fact Sheet: A PDF that is intended for college students at Vanderbilt University. The Electrical Fire Safety section includes tips that are useful for students and non-students alike.