A Fire in the Home can be Prevented: Tips for Fire Protection
A home fire can be terrifying and tragic. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a home fire occurs every 86 seconds in the United States, causing nine deaths a day, with 85 percent of the fatalities to people who are trapped in their dwelling at the time of the fire. The good news is that you can take measures now to prevent fires in your home and, in the worst of circumstances, escape the fire should it occur.
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Make Your Home Fire Safe
First and foremost, know that fire protection begins with fire prevention. Keep your home free of oily rags and store flammable materials in a ventilated area, away from heat sources. Inspect your appliances and lighting routinely for faulty or frayed wiring and install smoke detectors on every floor and bedroom of your home. Test your detectors frequently. About 25% of residential smoke detectors are disabled because the batteries have been removed or expired. According to the Preventive Services Task Force, fire fatalities are two to three times more likely in a home that doesn’t have a working smoke detector.
Inspect Your Heating System
Improper consumer use of heaters and the malfunctioning of heating devices are the second-leading cause of residential fire deaths in this country. Here are some inspection tips to help prevent home fire:
- Your chimneys, fireplaces, and heating stoves should be inspected annually to ensure that ventilation systems remain unobstructed.
- Keep flammable materials such as draperies and other fabrics away from heat or flames.
- Do not use extension cords with space heaters or other appliances that employ open coils.
- Is your furnace properly maintained and inspected regularly? If filters are not cleaned and inspected, you could be in for trouble. Not only can ventilation blockages cause fires, your home may fill with toxic carbon monoxide.
- If you have a wood-burning stove, have you checked your chimney for creosote?
Fire Alarm Systems Save Lives
If you are buying a burglar alarm system for your home or already have on in place, you may consider adding a fire alarm system to the package. Professional alarm systems with off-site monitoring can detect fires, warn homeowners, sound a fire alarm, and dispatch firefighters all at once. For additional fees, the company that installs and monitors your home security system will monitor your home for toxic gasses, smoke, and dramatic rises in temperature. The system can also detect broken pipes and flooding.
Buy and Install Home Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers can pay off a thousand times over your initial investment. Extinguishers come filled with different agents and propellants, so it’s good to know which one is right for your home.
Dry chemical extinguishers are suited for multiple applications and come charged with compressed, non-flammable gases. While water extinguishers are inexpensive, they are not typically suited for chemical fires. And they cause water damage. Carbon dioxide extinguishers work well on both liquid and electrical fires. Expensive, halon extinguishers work best in chemical fires, but have limited range. Whichever works best for you, none will work if the charge has expired. So inspect extinguishers regularly.