Thousands of house fires occur each year in the United States, and the most damaging of these fires usually happen in homes without functioning smoke detectors. Here are tips for practicing fire safety in the home.
Fire Safety in the Home Begins with Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors provide an early warning alarm for you and your family. You should have at least one device on each level of the house. Install a smoke detector in the garage, near the furnace, in the laundry room, and in the kitchen. Also, install detectors in every bedroom and common hallways. Test your devices monthly to make sure they’re functional.
Safety Tips for Cooking
House fires often begin in the kitchen. Leaving the stove or oven unattended is a leading cause of house fires. To keep your home and family safe, here are some fire safety tips for your kitchen.
- Unplug any appliances when they’re not in use. This includes the microwave, coffee maker, and toaster oven.
- Keep paper plates, dish towels, and potholders away from a hot stovetop or burner.
- Make sure curtains aren’t installed too close to cooking appliances.
- To keep yourself safe while cooking, roll up your sleeves and tuck in any loose-fitting clothing. Tie your hair back when preparing food over a hot stove.
- Make sure the smoke detector in the kitchen is working properly. If you frequently hear false alarms, move the device farther away. The ideal placement is approximately 10 to 12 feet away from any cooking appliances.
Practice Fire Safety with Heating Appliances in the Home
Chimney fires are another common cause of house fires. Take these precautions when heating your home this winter.
- Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned by a professional in the fall so that it’s safe to use in the winter when the temperatures drop.
- Hire a chimney sweep to thoroughly clean your chimney. Creosote can build up in the chimney and ignite, starting a fire.
- Never leave a space heater running unattended. Keep any portable heating device at least five feet away from upholstery, bedding, furniture, and curtains. Unplug the heater when it’s not in use.
Children and Fire Safety
Teach children that matches and lighters are tools, not toys. It’s never too early for children to learn about fire safety in the home.
- Teach children to stay away from the stove or grill when food is being prepared.
- Discuss with your children an escape plan to use in case of fire.
- Children should learn to read warning labels on products. Teach them the words “Warning,” “Caution”, and “Flammable,” and tell them to ask an adult if they need to use a product with any of these labels.
- Get your children involved in fire safety by teaching them how to test the smoke alarms. If they have a mobile device, children can set a reminder on their calendar to test the devices once a month.