NATIONAL FIRE PREVENTION WEEK
Stay Safe from Smoke and Flame: National Fire Prevention Week
The effective prevention and combat of fires is essential to everyone’s well-being. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, there were over 2,000 deaths from home fires in 2015. Because National Fire Prevention Week begins takes place the week of October 9th, now is the perfect time to review strategic methods of preventing fires and staying safe in case of a blaze.
Apart from carrying out basic home fireproofing actions, the most important aspect of fire prevention lies in awareness. Youngsters should be educated in smoke and fire safety, and there are plenty of resources available online to help parents build upon what’s taught in school. Many experts can attest that unless classroom lessons about fire are reinforced by parents, they tend to lose much of their effectiveness.
The same fire safety rules apply to adults in the house. Don’t leave food unwatched while cooking, and don’t use extension cords as permanent parts of your electrical setup. Keep all matches and cigarette lighters out of the reach of children. If you have any space heaters, remember to keep a clear space for three feet on all sides. Encourage all family members to sleep with their bedroom doors closed because this will tend to keep rooms smoke-free in the event of a fire.
A special note must be made about the elderly. The U.S. Fire Administration has found that seniors, while making up only 14 percent of the population as a whole, account for 38 percent of all fire-related fatalities. If you have an aged person living in your residence, see to it that he or she has eyeglasses, hearing aids and other necessary devices within arm’s reach while sleeping. Move all bulky furniture that could interfere with an escape from the building. And never leave heated blankets or other electronic equipment on for so long that it could catch fire.
Up-to-date protection devices significantly improve your likelihood of surviving a fire. Install fire alarms, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Consider adding a personal safety or security app to your smartphone – there are myriad options to choose from, many of which can alert proper authorities automatically during a crisis. It might also be worthwhile to purchase a sprinkler system depending on your budget. Test all alarms regularly and replace them when they’re 10 years old. There’s usually a button on alarms that can be pressed, and then the device will emit a beep if it’s functioning properly. Fire extinguishers shouldn’t be employed as a primary means of dealing with fires, and they can be tricky to operate, which is why it’s useful to read the instructions beforehand rather than waiting until a fire actually develops.
Create a family plan for fires. Identify escape routes, and ensure that there are at least two separate ways out of the house for every person. Don’t neglect pets either: A lot of time could be wasted looking for a beloved animal if you haven’t thought about your pet in advance. Designate a meeting place outside the house in the event that your family is separated. After you set up your plan, practice it regularly so that everyone is thoroughly acquainted with what to do in case of an actual crisis.
Fires claim thousands of lives per year, but the good news is that many of them can be prevented. By taking measures to reduce the chances of a fire in the first place and preparing a disaster plan now, you can keep your home and family safe for years to come.
Beth Kotz is a freelance writer and contributor for numerous home, technology, and personal finance blogs. She graduated with BA in Communications and Media from DePaul University in Chicago, IL where she continues to live and work. You can find her on here on Twitter.