Keep Your Family Safe from Home Fires
On February, 17, 2017
Although deaths and injuries from residential fires have decreased in the past several years, deaths from fires and burns are still the third leading cause of fatal home injuries (CDC). Seventy percent of these deaths are from inhaling smoke. Two-thirds of deaths from home fires occurred in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Fires are more likely to happen in certain areas or by certain equipment in your house. Be extra careful while you’re cooking, smoking, around candles, furnaces, electrical cords and fireplaces, and with children, toddlers and babies nearby.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking equipment, most often a range or a stovetop, is the leading cause of reported U.S. home fires and home fire injuries.
Fortunately, there are things you and your family can do to protect yourselves.
Have a properly working smoke alarm
- Change the battery to your smoke alarm once a year and change the whole unit every 10 years. Pick a special day, a birthday, holiday or daylight savings and change the battery every year on that day.
- If possible, replace smoke alarms with interconnected alarms. When one alarm goes off, the others will sound too.
- Smoke alarms should be in every floor of your house (including your basement) and outside bedrooms or sleeping areas.
- Test your smoke alarm monthly.
- Make sure your kids are familiar with the sound of the alarm.
Plan a family escape route
- Practice it on a monthly basis.
- Practice with everyone in your family, even children, toddlers and infants.
- Practice from every room in the house.
Plan your family escape route
Install a home sprinkler system
- These can be built in a new home or put into an existing home.
- Sprinklers can reduce property damage, injuries and most importantly reduce the number of deaths from home fires.
Learn more about home sprinkler systems
Learn how to use your fire extinguisher
- Use a fire extinguisher when a fire is contained, like in a waste basket.
- Keep your fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place.
- Call your local fire department if you have questions on how to use a fire extinguisher.
- Fire extinguishers have gauges on them indicating when they need to be replaced. They should be checked regularly to make sure they are still functional.
If a fire occurs in your home:
- Never open a door that feels hot. Escape another way.
- Take the safest route, but if you have to go through smoke, crawl low and under the smoke. Cover your nose and mouth with a moist towel (if possible) or an article of clothing.
- Immediately leave your house, and then call for help.
- Once you’re out, stay out. Don’t go back in, not even to grab someone else.
What happens after a fire?
After a fire, your world may be turned upside down and you may wonder what you should do now. Information and resources are available to help get your life back to normal. The U.S. Fire Administration has pulled together some tips to get you started.