Fire Prevention and Precautions
The fire safety issue is extremely important. Every year, more than 5000 people die in fires in the USA. One in ten of these fire victims are children. However, safety is not an issue that comes to our minds very often, as we go about our daily routine. Yet, in our homes, there may be dangers that can take lives and destroy our properties.
This web site wants to highlight the dangers of fire and smoke.
Understand the dangers
Most residential fire deaths occur because of inhalation of toxic gas, rather than contact with flames. The tragedy is that many of these deaths could be prevented by taking a few precautions.
General Fire Prevention Tips
- Do not plug too many appliances into an electrical outlet.
- Make sure that combustibles are not too close to heaters, stoves and fireplaces.
- Never smoke in bed or soft furniture.
- Do not use damaged or frayed electrical cords or extension cords.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Teach your children about the dangers of playing with fire.
- Never use extension cords with heating or air conditioning equipment.
- Purchase smoke alarms and fire extinguishers for each floor of your home.
- Have an Emergency Escape Plan and practice it frequently.
The most obvious way out may be blocked by fire or smoke. Remember that the smoke of a home fire is extremely dense and toxic, taking any vision, so, if a downstairs room is on fire, a window will usually be the only way out of a room upstairs.
- Make sure that screens or storm windows can be easily removed.
- Ensure that you have tools available if windows must be broken.
- If you live in a two-story home, you should have an escape ladder
for each occupied bedroom. Escape
ladders are available for purchase, and they can easily be
stored under a bed or in a closet.
Please note, that your anticipated escape route, for example over
a bay window or similar, might well be blocked if the fire rages
in the room below.
The photo shows a house, where the fire had come through a little
roof, which otherwise could have acted as an escape route. Here,
an alternative exit would have been required.
If you are exiting with young children, the parent to which the
children are most attached to, should lead the way, as children
will be more likely to follow.
Establish a meeting place outside your home to be sure everyone
has escaped. Every family member should participate in practice
- In the event of fire, do not stop to get dressed or gather valuables.
Seconds count - do not search for the family pet.
- Teach your family that in a fire they must stay low to the floor
to avoid smoke.
- Passageways may be completely filled with dense smoke, so everyone
should practice exiting on their hands and knees while blindfolded.
- Train family members to feel any closed door on the exit route
before opening. If the door is warm, open it slowly, and close
it quickly if heat or smoke rushes in.
- Establish a rule that once you're out, you never re-enter under
any circumstances. As soon as two people have reached the meeting
place, one should call 911 from a neighbour's house.
The earlier a fire is detected, the less risk there is to your
life. Fire alarms and smoke
detectors play a very important role in this
- Purchase a smoke
alarm for every floor of your home, and read the instructions
on how to use it and where to position it.
- Smoke alarms should be placed near bedrooms, either on the ceiling
or six to twelve inches below the ceiling on the wall. Do not
place it within 6" of where the wall and ceiling meet on
- Locate smoke alarms away from air vents.
- Test your alarms regularly to ensure that they still work.
- If you have a battery-powered alarm, change the battery every
six months when you change your clocks.
- For maximum protection, install BOTH ionisation and photoelectric
smoke alarms in the home for the optimum detection of fast flaming
fires and slow smoldering fires.
To guard against small fires or to keep a small fire from developing into a big one, every home should be equipped with fire extinguishers. Because almost all fires are small at first, they might be contained if a fire extinguisher is handy and used properly. You should take care, however, to select the right kind of fire extinguisher, because there are different ones for different kinds of fires. Install fire extinguishers on every level of the home and include the kitchen, ground floor and garage.
For official fire safety information, please visit the NIFC site