Your home is somewhere you expect to feel safe. Yet more injuries and deaths from fire occur in the home than in any other place. Don’t underestimate the danger of fire. Use this home fire safety guide to help you prepare and learn what to do if a fire breaks out in your home.
Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and injuries. Here are home fire prevention tips you can do to decrease the chance of a cooking fire:
- Never leave the stovetop unattended.
- Electrical Stoves: Use a burner that is the right size for the pan. A burner that is too large can cause the pan and its contents to heat too quickly, which can lead to boil-overs, scorching and burning.
- Gas Stoves: Keep the flame entirely under the pan. A flame that surrounds the pan can easily ignite a loose-fitting sleeve.
- Keep the stovetop, oven and range hood free of grease and spills that can catch on fire.
Here’s how you can protect yourself from starting an electrical fire:
- Hire a qualified, licensed electrician to inspect your home and make any necessary repairs.
- Replace fuses or circuit breakers with the correct size.
- Don’t run cords under carpeting, bedding or other combustible materials. Don’t run cords across a frequently traveled area.
- Discard frayed or broken cords and never splice two cords together.
- Use the right wattage for lamps and fixtures.
- Position lamps away from open windows, where strong breezes can blow draperies onto hot light bulbs.
Furniture can play a large role in how quickly a fire spreads. That’s because the foam and fillers burn rapidly, release tremendous heat, produce toxic gases and consume oxygen rapidly. Here are a few home fire safety tips to be aware of when choosing new furniture for your house:
- Choose fire-resistant furniture: Look for furniture approved by the Upholstered Furniture Action Council or that meets the requirements of the California Bureau of Home Furnishings.
- Replace your old mattress. Mattresses manufactured after 1973 are required to be more resistant to ignition by cigarettes.
- Keep electrical cords, lamps and appliances away from upholstered furniture and mattresses.
Home Heating System Fires
Fireplaces, wood or pellet stoves, and other fuel-fired appliances are often used as an alternative way to heat your house. The improper use of these other heating methods is a leading cause of house fires in December, January and February.
If you’re planning to use another method to keep warm in your house, here are home fire safety tips to keep in mind:
- Allow 3 feet of open space on all sides of space heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces.
- Refuel a heater only when it is cool. When refueling, make sure it’s away from any open flames, such as candles or lit cigarettes.
- If you’re using a portable heater, choose a model with a “tip switch.” This will automatically shut off the unit if it is tipped over.
- Be sure your wood or pellet stove is properly installed and up to code.
- Have wood stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually and regularly cleaned.
- Use a fire screen or fireplace doors to contain sparks.
- Clean your fireplace. Never allow more than one inch of buildup of soot or ash.
- Have your chimney inspected every year, even if you have a gas fireplace.
- Have a professional install a safety pilot on gas fireplaces.
Home Fire Safety & Prevention Tips
It’s too late to plan what to do when a fire strikes. In 30 seconds, a small flame can quickly grow out of control. To keep you and your home safe, it’s best to prepare, develop a home fire safety plan early and discuss what to do if a fire breaks out in your home.
Be sure to place working smoke alarms in your home. This is a top method for home fire prevention. Install smoke alarms:
- Outside of every bedroom
- Inside of every bedroom with a closed door
- On every story in the house
- In the basement
Home Sprinkler Systems
Ninety percent of fires are contained by the operation of just one sprinkler.
Consider installing sprinklers in high-risk areas such as the kitchen. Home sprinkler systems provide significant protection for your family and property. They are designed so that only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire.
Having easy access to a fire extinguisher can significantly reduce the chance a fire spreads in your home. Consider putting a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and anywhere else you could easily access it.
Safeguard Your Home with Homeowners Insurance
Fire can be incredibly destructive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare yourself. By taking the right steps (which includes having enough homeowners insurance), you can help safeguard yourself, your family and your home.
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