The U.S. Fire Administration reports that fires kill more than 4,000 Americans annually and injure 20,000 more. U.S. fire departments respond to nearly 2 million fires each year, with three-quarters of them occurring in residences. In order to avoid becoming one more of these unfortunate statistics, the NFPA recommends that every family implement the following safety procedures:
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice a home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own, in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked, and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave—this may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
Additionally, how long has it been since you’ve conducted a safety inspection of your home? Here’s a quick checklist:
- Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors regularly. Test them at least once a month.
- Keep a fully-charged fire extinguisher in an easy-to-get-to spot.
- Don’t overload circuits or extension cords.
- Make sure there’s ample space around all portable heating units. Anything that could catch fire should be at least three feet away from these.
- Position appliances (TV sets, kitchen and other appliances) away from curtains and water sources.
- Clean your dryer’s lint filter after every use and check behind your dryer for lint build-up regularly.
Most items on the standard home fire safety checklist are relatively easy for anyone to implement. But for those that may present more of a challenge—installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, chimney cleanings or the maintenance or replacement of wood stoves, to name a few—remember that your local Handyman Matters craftsmen stand ready to assist you in making certain that your home is fire prevention-ready!