Did you know 2,630 people died in a home fire in 2017? It’s easy to ignore the risk of a fire in your home, but one occurs once every 88 seconds according to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) “Fire Loss in the United States During 2017” report. The number of home fire deaths has increased slightly since 2016, so it’s essential to consider ways to prevent home fires and help protect your family in case of a fire.
Though safety technology gets better and makes us feel safer in our homes every year, home fires are still a growing risk and they can happen anywhere. In fact, newer homes burn faster than ever because of the building materials and home layouts that are common today. That’s why the NFPA made this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware- Fire Can Happen Anywhere.™ The three steps outlined in this slogan can help you know basic but essential steps to help you prevent fires and respond properly if your home does catch on fire.
Look for places fire can start
When is the last time you considered the fire risks in your home? The first step to take to decrease your fire risk is to evaluate your whole home for risks. The main areas of risk in your home include the following, according to the NFPA:
- Cooking (the cause of almost half of home fires)
- Heating (caused most often by failure to clean heating equipment)
- Electrical wiring or lighting (causes about 34,000 U.S. home fires a year)
- Candle fires (Reported 24 times a day)
- Smoking (fires most often start in living rooms, family rooms, dens and bedrooms).
Look at all of these areas of your home and consider ways fires could start. In certain cases, like electrical wiring and heating equipment, you should consider having a qualified professional inspect any potential issues and correct hazards. Avoiding using real candles and only smoking outside can also help prevent fires.
Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm
Once your smoke detector goes off, you may only have minutes to get out of your home, according to the NFPA. It essential to always leave your home and go to your outside meeting place when the alarm sounds if you do not know the source.
To get out of your home quickly enough, your smoke detector has to be working correctly and you need to hear it. Having a working smoke alarm in your home “cuts your risk of dying in a fire by half.” Make sure that you have detectors installed on every level of your home especially near all bedrooms. Test your smoke alarms monthly and replace them every 10 years.
Having interconnected and monitored smoke detectors can help you hear your alarms no matter which one sounds and will notify a monitoring center that a potential fire may be occurring. If you have Guardian monitored smoke detectors, the fire department will be notified of the alarm thanks to our 24/7 monitoring center, even if you sleep through an alarm or if you’re not home.
Learn two ways out of each room
Your whole family needs to know your home escape plan. Not sure how to make a home escape plan? We’ve provided some tips in our blog: Tips for Creating a Fire Escape Plan for Your Home. Your plan should be reviewed and practiced twice a year. Modern home furnishings are often made with materials that both burn quickly and generate toxic smoke, so once a fire starts, it doesn’t take long for it to be difficult to see and breathe.
Preventing a fire is important but since accidents can happen anywhere, knowing how to respond at the first sign of fire is essential. Knowing two ways out of every room (usually a door or a window) in your home could make the difference in a fire.
Learn more about Fire Prevention Week 2018.