Fires in the home can be deadly. Protecting yourself and your family requires a combination of preparedness and being educated about what to do in the event of a fire. Below are several tips and suggestions that can help keep your family safe.
What Can You Do to Prevent Fires in Your Home?
Some of the things that you can do to protect your family from fires in your home include:
- Install smoke alarms throughout your home (on each level) to provide as much warning as possible in the event of a fire.
- Inspect fire alarms on a routine basis to ensure the alarms are in good working order and to replace batteries.
- Make an escape plan with your family and practice this plan on a regular basis so that it becomes like second nature. A good escape plan has a minimum of two ways to escape in case fire or smoke blocks the main route. Knowing what to do in an emergency can give you the seconds you may need to escape a home fire unharmed.
- Teach children what the fire alarm sounds like and what to do if they hear that sound.
- Never leave candles burning when you leave the room, leave home, or go to sleep.
- Keep all items that can catch fire at least three feet away from any source of heat.
- Never leave portable heaters operating when you go to sleep or leave home.
- Check and maintain all electrical wiring throughout your house. Replace or repair any faulty wiring immediately.
- Never run electrical cords under rugs or furniture.
- Never overload an electrical outlet with more plugs than the outlet is designed to accommodate.
- Always store combustible items away from heat sources in open areas.
- If you use rags for cleaning or other purposes with flammable household chemicals, store those rags in metal containers with secure lids.
- When you are cooking, stay in the kitchen to keep a close watch on all items. Keep items that can catch fire (e. towels, food containers, pot holders, etc.) away from the stove.
- Install several fire extinguishers throughout your home, including in areas prone to fires such as your kitchen or workroom. Each adult or person old enough to handle the fire extinguisher in your household should know how to operate the fire extinguisher safely.
What Should You Do If Your Home is on Fire?
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from fire is to have an escape plan and to practice that plan on a regular basis. You should also have at least one contingency plan for escape in case your original route to safety is dangerous or hazardous because of the fire.
Other steps to take in the event of a fire include:
- Yell “FIRE” as loudly as possible several times to alert others in your home to the danger.
- Get out of the home as fast as possible and call for emergency help from a safe location.
- If a door is closed, touch the door first to determine if it is hot. A heated door indicates thefire is close to the door on the other side.
- Never re-enter a home to retrieve personal items. Stopping to get personal items is also extremely dangerous. You need to get out and stay out of a burning home.
- Once you are outside, proceed to your meeting place and follow your family’s emergency communication plan.
- Teach children to “Stop, Drop, and Roll” as a way to put out a fire if their clothing or hair should catch on fire.
You can obtain additional fire safety information for your home from the Government of Canada’s website.
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