Security Steps for Home Fire Safety
Simple Warning Devices, Education, and Escape Plans
Simple steps to take to keep your family safe from fire should be a key component in your home safety strategy and any home security system. Basic measures include:
- Fire education
- Fire prevention
- Fire and smoke detectors and alarms
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Fire extinguishers
- Fire escape plan and route
Sound complicated? These components are in place to protect and safeguard your home, family and personal property and a few of them require very little on your part to function as part of the critical whole.
First make sure your family, particularly children, understand how fires start and why they can be so dangerous. Keep matches, lighters and all types of fuse materials out of reach of children.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire is usually true and no better reason than to arm your home with a number of strategically placed smoke alarms and detectors. This prevention step is so simple and so affordable it’s a tragedy when fire strikes and smoke detectors were either non-existent or non-functioning.
If you have an in-home security system monitored by a central alarm company, find out if you may expand your home system to include built-in smoke and fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Home hazard detection like this provides an even better level of safety and security—get warned immediately via whole system sirens. If you’re away from home your alarm monitoring company can instantly get fire and police on the way in the even that a smoke or fire alarm is triggered.
Fire Safety Devices
Besides the very basic and essential smoke detector and fire alarm devices you should also have a home fire extinguisher on hand. Store these relatively inexpensive devices in or near kitchens, fireplaces, outdoor fire pits and cooking stoves, and near garages and workshops. Most are able to extinguish small fires before they get out of hand.
Consider the usefulness of a home fire ladder. What if someone in your family was trapped on a second or third floor of your home? Safety ladders are usually easily stored in a closet or under a bed and are designed to be secured to a window ledge.
Most experts suggest that you create and practice a simple home fire safety plan. In the event of a fire everyone in your family knows a number of escape options and where to go once free of your home.
Fire Safety Checklist
Gasoline & Combustibles
- Only store gasoline in a container approved for gas storage. Preferably store it in a dry, cool, and locked shed or garage.
- Keep all dangerous products sealed except while in use.
- Do not use machines that throw sparks near fires and/or fuel.
- Do not leave gasoline or combustible products near fires.
- Do not plug in too many appliances into a single outlet.
- Monitor electrical cords and extension cords to ensure they are clean and safe. If you have pets that like to chew on electrical wires teach them to play with toys instead. You may be able to curb their appeal for electrical wires by putting a small coating of Tabasco sauce on the wires they chew on.
- Turn off and unplug electrical appliances when you will be leaving for an extended period of time.
- Do not use electrical appliances near running water.
- Use a sturdy non-flamable candle holder.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Do not smoke when you are sleepy. Many house fires are started by a smoker falling asleep and forgetting that they have a lit cigarette.
- Do not put burning cigarettes in the trash. Rinse the cigarette in cold water prior to throwing it away.
- Use a large sturdy ash tray, on a sturdy table out of the reach of pets.
Heating & Dryers
- Keep matches and lighters locked away from children.
- Turn off space heaters while leaving the area and/or going to sleep.
- Ensure space heaters are on stable ground, and keep them a minimum of 3 feet from burnable objects. If you have a fireplace, keep burnable objects away from your fireplace and put a screen or glass barrier in front of your fireplace.
- Annually have any fireplaces, chimneys, furnaces, and coal or wood stoves inspected. Clean them as necissary.
- Only use your clothes dryer while home. Ensure the lint trap is cleaned between each use. Have your dryer taken apart and professionally cleaned every couple years.
Kitchen & Cooking
- Keep the range and surrounding area clear and clean.
- Do not wear loose frumpy clothing while cooking.
- Stay in the kitchen while cooking.
- Know how to put out small pan fires. For grease fires do not use water. Suffocate the fire using the pan’s lid or baking soda.
- When grilling, ensure you have adequate distance between the grill and nearby plants, structures, and other objects.
Safety Planning & Prevention
- Install ionization- and photoelectric-type smoke alarms on each level of your home, near or in each bedroom. Change batteries January 1st (or another memorable day) each year. Push the test button on the first of each month to verify your smoke alarms still work.
- If you are remodeling or are building a new home, consider installing a home fire sprinkler system.
- Install at least one fire extinguisher on each level of your home. Ensure it stays charged, and practice using it at least once.
- Create a fire escape plan with a minimum of 2 exits from each room. Hold fire drills at home at least 2 times a year, and pick a common meeting place for them.
- Teach everyone in your family how to “stop drop and roll” in case their clothes catch fire.
- If you leave a burning house do not go back in for any reason.