Several years ago, I saw a neighbor’s home go up in flames. Only one house stood between the fire and our home. From that moment, my family and I took fire safety much more seriously, and got educated on fires, fire safety, and fire prevention.
Fires aren’t simply left to forests. A large number of fires happen in our homes, commercial locations, and cars, causing substantial property damage and loss of life. Because many people are spending their days at home during this pandemic, I thought I’d share with you 15 essential fire safety tips to help you prevent fires and survive them.
Fire Safety in the Home
- Scan the area around your stove when there is an open flame to ensure nothing can catch fire. Look out for dish towels, flammable materials, papers and paper products. If you or a family member sustains an injury or property damage due to a fire, get help from personal injury lawyers to provide professional advice.
- Do not leave burning candles unattended, even if you are just in the next room. And, as with the stove, be sure there is nothing in the area that could catch fire, such as curtains.
- Avoid kitchen fires by being attentive to food cooking on the stove top or oven. A common cause of fires is overheating cooking oil. Never walk away or become distracted when cooking on the stove.
- Do not overload electrical outlets with plugs and strips. This is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.
- Smoking in bed should also be avoided at all times. Mattresses and bedding can catch fire easily if you doze off, even for a second. Also, keep matches and lighters away from children.
- Ensure that dryer vents are always clear of lint to reduce its potential as a fire hazard.
- Move space heaters away from anything that might catch fire. And, when you are not in the same room, turn the space heater off. Do not rely on it automatically turning off after a certain time. (Or, better still is ditching the space heater for a heavy sweater or coat to keep warm!)
- Do not put anything hot in the trash. For example, when disposing cigarettes or candles, let them cool off for a while and, ideally, douse them with water before putting them in the trash.
- Test your smoke alarms often and make sure the children recognize the sound. Formulate a family fire escape plan with a designated meeting place. And do not forget to call 911 if a fire occurs anywhere in the house.
- In case a fire does occur, drop and roll if your clothes catch fire. Avoid touching warm doors as you exit the house, and do not go back in once you are safely out.
Fire Safety in Commercial Locations
- Pay attention to all alarms, whether you are at work (in the office) or on vacation (in a hotel), and take action immediately. Don’t assume that the alarm is a prank or accidental pull just because you don’t see or smell smoke.
- Do not take the elevator if an alarm goes off. If you encounter smoke or fire, stay low and avoid touching or opening doors that are warm. Use the stairs to descend to the ground level.
- If you are unable to exit a room due to smoke or fire, attempt to open a window to signal for help. However, ensure that no other doors or windows are also open to avoid backdrafts.
Fire Safety in your Car
- Assemble an emergency kit to include a small fire extinguisher, a knife or scissors to cut a seatbelt, and a heavy tool to break the window. Position these tools where you will be able to access them in case of fire or other emergencies.
- Periodic vehicle maintenance is key to keeping your car in good condition, including fire prevention. And, when you receive a recall on your car, act on it immediately. Often the recall is for a defect that could result in a fire.
These are just a few fire safety principles that you can utilize in your everyday life to reduce the risk of a fire or, in the event a fire breaks out, to minimize the damage to life and property. Share these with your family, come up with a safe meeting place if a fire ever were to occur at home, change the batteries regularly on your smoke detectors, learn how to use a fire extinguisher, and regularly review your fire safety plan.
Stay safe while at home!