October 6, 2014 1:31 am
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 17,500 Americans are injured in fires each year. Given that statistic, families must develop a fire escape plan. Aside from practicing fire drills with everyone in the household, take these steps to ensure safety.
- Identify fire safety risks inside your home and immediate surroundings. Equip your garage with smoke detectors since garage fires can start easily and spread quickly.
- Identify two exits -- designate two exits from every room in your home -- a door and a window. Make sure doors and windows open quickly and easily to help ensure a quick exit; if not, replace them for safety's sake.
- Keep exit routes free of clutter to help reduce tripping or falling hazards, as you may be crawling through smoke or in the dark in a power outage to exit in an emergency.
- Create a home fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone in your household. Make sure house sitters or babysitters are also familiar with your plan.
- To make your own plan, download a fire escape grid from Pella and draw a floor plan of each level of your home.
- Install and regularly test smoke alarms in bedrooms and near sleeping areas on each level of your home.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, preferably in a cabinet with a child-resistant lock.
- Keep candles at least one foot away from anything that can burn. Blow out candles when you leave the room, or before you go to sleep. Consider replacing traditional candles with electric candles, especially in homes with children and pets.
- Completely extinguish outdoor fires like fire pits or grills when you're done with them, and never leave outdoor fires unattended.
- If your home features more than one story, equip it with a fire escape ladder, easily accessed from upper-level bedrooms. Mark their location on your home fire plan and share this information with your family.
- Keep fire extinguishers in your home, especially in the kitchen where many home fires start. Replace expired extinguishers.
- Stay in the kitchen while cooking. If you must leave for a short time, turn off the stove. When baking, check the oven regularly, and use a timer to help make sure it's shut off when cooking's done.
- Keep space heaters at least three feet from things that can burn. Turn off heaters when you leave the room, or before you go to sleep. Keep flammable objects, like rugs, bedding, clothing, furniture, curtains and decorations, away from portable heaters.
Published with permission from RISMedia.