Everyone feels like it will never happen to them. The statistics show that home ﬁres are more common than you think. Taking a few steps now will decrease your chances of having a ﬁre, and decrease the damage if you do have one.
1. Establish and practice an exit route from your home with your family. Make sure you address what to do if an exit is blocked. Don’t assume it is obvious to kids and even adults that they will leave through a certain door and meet in a certain location. Practice.
2.If you have a second ﬂoor, purchase and practice with an escape ladder. This is especially important to kids who may be fearful in an emergency situation.
3.Make sure your ﬁre extinguisher is current, charged, and the correct type for the type of ﬁre you may need to put out. For example, auto fires need a specialize fire extinguisher.
4.Consider adding residential sprinkler systems. They usually cost about $1.50 per square foot.
5.Purchase a home safe. Most safes are ﬁre retardant and can keep documents safe for a period of time while the fire is put out.
If you have documents that cannot be replaced, store them outside of your home in a safe deposit box. It’s always a good idea to scan and keep digital copies of documents and photos at another family member’s house.
6.Never leave running appliances like the stove, candles, orother heat sources unattended. This will cut down on your chances of having a home ﬁre. Also, make sure you turn off and unplug holiday decorations when leaving home.
7. If you have pets, makes sure you have a sticker in your window with their location and the type and quantity of animals. The ASPCA offers a free emergency kit. Know what you are going to do to get your pets out of the house, especially if they need to be carried such as a bird.
8. Seniors are vulnerable during fires as many face mobility challenges. If you have elder neighbors or family members, make sure they know how to get out of their home, how to call for assistance and what to do in case of emergency.
BY THE NUMBERS
Home ﬁres every year, in millions-2
Number of times per year you should check your smoke alarms- 12
The average lifespan of a smoke alarm in years-10