According to the American Red Cross, fires can start and spread within seconds, leaving with you with about 2 minutes to get out of the house. Within these two minutes, a well-practiced fire escape plan will allow you and everyone in the house to get out safely.
But what’s even better is if the fire didn’t happen at all. While there are many items around the home that can contribute to fire hazards, including electrical appliances, dryers, electrical cords, and more, many of them can be avoided by simply making a few changes.
All of the following include home fire prevention tips to keep your family and property safe from a deadly disaster:
- Install and inspect smoke alarms
- Create and practice a fire escape plan
- Check the dryer
- Inspect Home Appliances
- Pet-Proof the Home
- Prevent fires outside
- Prevent fires during the holidays
- Only smoke outside
- Maintain the fireplace
- Inspect the wiring
- Mind your candles
- Be careful when cooking
1. Install and inspect smoke alarms
- Make sure there are smoke alarms installed in every room.
- Test all smoke alarms and change the batteries each month to ensure they are working properly.
- Teach kids to recognize the sound they make and what to do when they do hear it.
- Replace the entire smoke alarm system every 8 – 10 years.
- Never disable a smoke alarm when cooking.
2. Create and practice a fire safety plan
- Create and practice an effective plan that allows everyone to safely escape as quickly as possible.
- Make sure there are two ways to get out of each room.
- Make sure windows are not stuck, screens can be removed, and security bars can be opened from the inside.
- Practice feeling your way out of the house with your eyes closed in case the lights are out during the fire.
3. Check the dryer
- Always remove the lint from the filter after every load.
- Check under and behind the dryer to remove any clothing or lint.
- Ensure that the dryer is using the proper duct material and it’s installed correctly.
- Never leave the home with the dryer running.
- Keep a smoke alarm in the laundry room in case of an emergency.
4. Inspect home appliances
- Clean all appliances thoroughly before using them.
- Inspect the wiring for damaged cords, outlets, or circuits. If anything is damaged or broken, fix it right away.
- Inspect the vent hoods above the stove to make sure it blows air freely without any blockages or dust particles.
5. Pet-proof the home
- Make sure that pets are not able to turn on any electronics while you are away.
- Keep new dogs and puppies in crates while you are sleeping or out of the house.
- Keep new cats in a small room when you are not home.
- Keep all exotic animals, including birds, ferrets, turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. in cages when you are not home. Also keep them supervised when they are out of their cages.
- Keep any pets that have a habit of chewing away from electrical appliances, cords, and wiring.
- Always scold pets if they are urinating or chewing on any electrical or flammable materials.
- Remove all stove handles at waist-level to prevent pets from accidently turning them on while you are not home.
- Notify the firefighters that you have pets in your home and how many by placing a sticker on your front window.
- Keep a leash by the door for easy access in an emergency situation.
- Train your pets to come to you when called.
6. Prevent fires outside
- In the fall season, keep all piles of leaves away from the home after raking.
- Always clean the grill before and after using it.
- Consider using non-flammable pads on wooden decks with grills to keep sparks and burning wood from starting a fire.
- Always turn off the propane and grill if you have to leave it.
- Keep lawn clippings and bush trimmings away from the home because they can retain heat when fermenting.
- Store gasoline in an approved container away from the home, never in the garage.
7. Prevent fires during the holidays
- Check out these holiday cooking fire safety tips.
- Always turn off the Christmas tree lights when leaving the house or going to bed.
- Don’t overload the circuits with holiday lights.
- Blow out all candles after guests leave during family events.
- Always practices these turkey fryer fire safety tips.
- Make sure there is always water in the bowl under the Christmas tree.
8. Only smoke outside
- Always smoke over concrete, such as in the garage or on your driveway.
- Extinguish all cigar and cigarette butts in an ashtray or run them under water before throwing them away.
- Keep all lighters and matches away from children.
9. Maintain the fireplace
- Hire a chimney sweep to inspect and clean the flu from the chimney to prevent smoke damage in the house.
- Make sure that only dry wood is used to burn in the fireplace. Avoid using cedar or any green wood to limit the creosote buildup in the chimney.
- Always keep a barrier around the fireplace, such as a glass door, or wire mesh screen to prevent flying sparks and wood particles from landing on the floor.
- Remove all other burned wood before lighting the fire, taking them outside in a metal bucket to prevent soot from landing on the floor.
- Do not burn anything other than wood in the fireplace. This includes cardboard, paper, trash, trees, etc.
10. Inspect the wiring
- Make sure that there are no overloaded circuits, fuses, or panel boxes in the electrical system. Make sure that circuits are not combined.
- If there is corrosion, thermal, or damaged insulation on the circuit breaker, replace it right away. A fire damage cleanup technician can restore any smoke damage to affected building materials.
- If there any connections that were incorrectly installed, too tight, too lose, or using the wrong material, fix them right away or to prevent the risk of fire damage.
- All outlets must be connected properly and avoid using too many two-prong connectors in three-prong outlets.
- The difference between power strips and surge protectors is that surge protectors will prevent power spikes and are best used with phones, computers, laptops, and other high-monetary electronics to prevent them from becoming damaged.
11. Mind your candles
- Candles cause about 15,600 fires each year, according to Nationwide Insurance.
- Always burn candles on even surfaces.
- Keep candles away from combustible materials, including curtains, upholstery, and window coverings.
- Extinguish candles before going to bed or leaving the room.
- Only use sturdy candle holders.
- Keep burning candles away from young children and pets.
12. Be careful when cooking
- When in use, keep all combustible kitchen items away from the stove and microwave, including rags, dish towels, and packaging materials.
- Keep pets and children away from the kitchen when cooking.
- Never walk away from a burning stove or while using the oven.
- If possible, keep pots and pans on the back burner to prevent them from crashing to the floor if they are bumped.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher that is easily accessible in the kitchen.
- Clean up any grease around the stove and in the oven before using them.
- Never drink alcohol when you are cooking.
- Never cook when tired.
13. Keep numbers of emergency contacts
- Keep numbers of emergency contacts including the police department, fire department, your insurance company, and emergency disaster restoration company.
- Store these numbers on your phone, on the refrigerator, or somewhere they can easily be seen.
- Call these emergency contacts as soon as everyone has safely evacuated the home in the event of a fire.
What to Do in the Case of a Fire
Indeed there are many ways fires can be prevented, but accidents can still happen, even when you are not home. But as soon as find any sign of a fire in your home, make sure to take the following steps:
- Evacuate everyone in the home immediately.
- Call the fire department.
- Call your insurance company.
- Call a fire damage restoration company.
- Consult with the fire department before going back inside or reusing your appliances.
- Create an inventory of damaged items and property.
- Locate high-value items and records. If any were damaged, such as any birth certificates, social security cards, passports, pet documents, or jewelry, contact the government or manufacturer for replacements.
- Notify your mortgage company of the fire.
Professional Fire Damage Cleanup
If you have not already found a fire damage cleanup company, be sure to check out ServiceMaster of Hattiesburg in Mississippi. Their technicians are licensed, trained, and experienced to professional remove soot and other fire byproducts from their affected surfaces.
They can also rebuild your home with reconstruction services, handling any contracting or handiwork needed to fully restore your home to its original condition. Everything from cleaning jewelry to removing that horrible smoke odor, you can count on ServiceMaster of Hattiesburg to give you the peace of mind you deserve after suffering through a fire.
You can reach ServiceMaster of Hattiesburg in Hattiesburg, MS at (601) 651-4022 for more information about fire damage restoration services.