A fire in your home can be an incredibly devastating event. Not only could you lose precious photographs and family heirlooms, but without proper safety practices, your family's health could be at risk. Learning how to prevent fires, and how to react in the event that they occur, is of the utmost importance.
1. Be sure your smoke detectors are working
Your best protection against a house fire is a functioning smoke detector. Be sure to install detectors outside of bedrooms and on every floor of your home. This ensures that no matter which floor you're on, awake or sleeping, the alarm will jolt you into action. Test your detectors once a month and change the batteries at least once a year -- don't let them run out of juice and then change them! One good habit to get into is to change them when you change clock batteries in the spring and fall.
2. Practice safe cooking
Many fires begin as a result of people inadvertently turning on the stove and forgetting to turn it off, or leaving the kitchen while cooking. Make sure that there is always someone in the kitchen to watch the stove while it is turned on. If you have to do some work while cooking, make sure you do it within view of the stove to ensure that nothing catches on fire.
3. Be careful when smoking
Responsible smoking will only do harm to your body; irresponsible smoking could lead to a house fire. Getting into a few good habits will ensure that your smoking does not put you and your family at risk. Firstly, do not smoke in bed. If you were to doze off with a lit cigarette, you could very easily set the bed on fire. Secondly, be sure to dispose of your cigarette butts in wide, stable ashtrays that will not easily fall over.
4. Give space to your space heater
Space heaters, as warm and comforting as they are, can be extremely dangerous if placed too close to flammable items like bedsheets or pillows. If you're using a space heater, be sure that you give it enough space that it won't light something around it on fire. Also, turn off the space heater when you leave a room and when you go to sleep.
5. Inspect your fire extinguisher
First of all, make sure you know where your fire extinguisher is located! Over time, people forget where the fire extinguisher is stored and when a fire starts they don't know where to look! It's also very important to know how to use your fire extinguisher. Directions on the side of the extinguisher are often sufficient, but knowing how they work beforehand will save you time. Make sure to read the directions from time to time to keep yourself prepped.
6. Make an exit strategy
Having a set of escape plans ready is important, especially if you have small children. Run fire drills so they know how to safely escape from multiple places in the house. Drawing a diagram may be helpful in this respect.
Keeping these tips in mind will help prevent a fire in your house and ensure that you are prepared in the unlikely event that you encounter a house fire. Your family's health is of the utmost importance: stay vigilant and be sure to keep fire safety in mind at all times.