Like the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So, here are ten tips for protecting your family and valuables from fire.
1. Inspect your home for fire hazards. Check with your local fire department’s fire prevention unit to see if they conduct home inspections. Make certain that all combustible items are preferably stored in a shed or garage, or at least three feet from any heat source.
2. Protect your belongings. Except when you actually need them elsewhere, important papers and documents should be stored in a fire-resistant storage unit or safety deposit box. Take photos of your valuables and store them along with written descriptions in a safe place.
3. Regularly schedule “system checks” with us so that you can be assured that both your security system and smoke/fire/gas detection units are in good working order. Change the batteries in any non-system smoke detectors at least twice a year.
4. Plan and practice a fire escape plan with your family. Draw diagrams that map out at least two escape routes from every room. Designate a “meeting place” outside the home where all family members will gather in the event of a fire.
5. If you or a family member smokes cigarettes, make certain that common sense prevails. Smoking is, by far, the leading cause of fatal home fires.
6. Sleep with bedroom doors closed. The majority of fatal home fires happen between midnight and 8:00 am. Closed bedroom doors can prevent suffocating smoke and combustible gases from spreading, and give everyone more time to escape.
7. Get out fast, and stay out! Focus all of your attention on getting you and your family out alive. Never go back into a burning building to try and save possessions.
8. Feel doors before opening them. Touch the door surface, doorknob and the cracks along the sides of the door. If you feel heat, don’t open the door; use your second way out.
9. Crawl low under smoke. Smoke actually causes more deaths than fire. If you must go through a smoke-filled area, crawl on your hands and knees and crawl quickly under the smoke to the exit. Try to stay 18-24 inches above the floor; toxic gases accumulate at floor level!
10. Stop, drop and roll, if your clothing catches fire. Don’t run.
Your local fire department can provide more details about fire safety around the home and ways to survive a fire emergency. They’ll also gladly give you advice about escape plans and fire extinguishers.