Ten Tips for Home Fire Safety
1. Install Smoke Detectors
Working smoke detectors can alert you to a fire in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, and outside each sleeping area. If you sleep with the door closed, install one inside your sleeping area as well.
2. Plan Your Escape
If a fire breaks out in your home, you have to get out fast. Prepare for a fire emergency by sitting down with your family and agreeing on an escape plan. Be sure that everyone knows at least two unobstructed exits – doors and windows – from every room. If you live in an apartment building, do not include elevators in your escape plan. Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will meet after they escape. Have your entire household practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
3. Keep an Eye on Smokers
Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be deadly. Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays and soak butts with water before discarding them. Before going to bed or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.
4. Cook Carefully
Never leave cooking unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear clothes with short, rolled-up, or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can’t bump them and also so that children can’t grab them. Enforce a “Kids-Free-Zone” three feet (1 meter) around your kitchen stove. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat. Importantly, leave the lid on until cool.
5. Give Space Heaters Space
Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from anything that can burn. Keep children and pets away from heaters, and never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed.
6. Remember: Matches and Lighters are Tools, not Toys
In a child’s hands, matches and lighters can be deadly. So, use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where small children can’t see or reach them, preferably in a locked cabinet. Teach your children that matches and lighters are tools, not toys, and should be used only by adults or under adult supervision. Also, teach young children to tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches and lighters to adults immediately.
7. Cool a Burn
Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never put butter or any other grease on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately. Never use ice.
8. Use Electricity Safely
If an electrical appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Don’t overload extension cords or run them under rugs. Don’t tamper with your fuse box or use improper-size fuses.
9. Crawl Low Under Smoke
During a fire, smoke and poisonous gasses rise with the heat. So, the air is cleaner near the floor. If you encounter smoke while you are escaping from a fire, use an alternative escape route. However, if you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) above the floor.
10. Stop, Drop, and Roll
If your clothes catch fire, don’t run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames.