House fires can absolutely be devastating for homeowners and families in which these tragedies could be avoided. Take the following steps to protect your home from fire and keep your loved ones safe:
Test your smoke detector regularly.
This is the single most important piece of advice I can offer. Experts recommend checking your detectors once every month. Put a monthly reminder on your calendar if you have trouble remembering.
Never leave the kitchen stove unattended while in use.
According to the NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of house fires. If you are using the oven, check it regularly and make sure you set a timer. If you have a kitchen grease fire, do not put water on it. This can cause more damage and spread the fire throughout the home.
Always keep a fire extinguisher in your home and know how to use it.
Make sure you understand what types of fires a fire extinguisher can be used for and read the operating instructions. An extinguisher is not much use to you if you can’t deploy it quickly in the event of a fire.
When you purchase a home, have an inspector or electrician look at your electrical system and panel.
Electricians can make sure the electrical panel is up to code. Also an inspector can test the voltage of your outlets to see if there are any dangerous outlets that could cause a fire concern.
Have your heating equipment and chimneys serviced each year.
Failure to clean and maintain chimneys is a leading cause of heating-related house fires, according to NFPA.
Don’t use candles or other flammable objects near furniture.
Don’t leave candles unattended. People are often surprised by how quickly a mattress or couch can catch fire and escalate into a large fire.
Have a plan.
Talk with your family to prepare a plan in a fire emergency. Make sure children understand how to escape in the event of a fire and pick a safe meeting place outside the home.
Finally, in the event of a fire, get out of the home and dial 9-1-1.
You can lose precious minutes attempting to put out a fire yourself. Emergency responders have the training and equipment to properly and safely handle the situation.