Fire Prevention Week: Tips to Ready Yourself and Your Home From Fires
This week is Fire Prevention Week, and it was created to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire on Oct. 9, 1871 that killed more than 250 people and left over 100,000 homeless. Today it is a national awareness week on what to do to prevent any house fires and protect residents. We will provide steps to prevent fires in or around your home in this blog.
1. Check Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are required in the home, but not just in the places you think they are. They are required in all sleeping areas, outside of sleeping areas and on every floor. Of course there is one in the kitchen, but these other places are needed. You need to “Hear the Beep Where you Sleep,” which is this year’s slogan for #FirePreventionWeek.
You also need to check your fire alarms. The life expectancy of a fire alarms is ten years. Check and see if your smoke alarm has a life expectancy date. Also, batteries may be faulty, disconnected, dead or even missing. Smoke detectors needs to be checked once a month, and batteries should be replaced twice a year. A good way to remind yourself is by replacing the batteries during daylight savings times in the year. To make sure it works, press and hold the test button on the detector. There should be a loud, ear-piercing sound in response to holding the button down for a few seconds.
2. Escape Plans for Your Home
Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving very little time to escape once the alarm sounds. When a fire starts in your home, there is usually only one to two minutes for an escape. Prepare your family by bringing everyone together in your home and make a plan of escape if a fire were to happen. Inspect your home of all possible exits and escape routes too. Children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Make sure to mark the locations of each smoke alarm as well.
3. Get a Licensed Electrical Contractor to Look at the Wiring
Faulty wiring causes many fires in older homes and even newer homes. It really happens in the colder months with a larger load of electronics being plugged in for the winter. You need to make sure your home’s electrical system can safely handle the extra load because it’s way too easy for bad wiring to cause an electrical fire.
Have your home’s electrical system checked at least every four years, and if you rented or bought a house that’s 15 years old or older, bring in a licensed electrical contractor as soon as possible.
4. Check Cooking Equipment
Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment. Unattended cooking is actually the leading cause of house fires in the kitchen and the microwave is the number one culprit. The usual problem is grabbing something and throwing it in the microwave without reading instructions or not following the instructions completely. To help prevent other forms of fires in the kitchen, always be fully aware of your cooking appliances. Check if there is faulty wiring in the plug, or that it is not working properly. These can be signs that it needs to be fixed so an accident does not happen in your home.
5. Check Heating Equipment
Heaters will be turning on pretty soon and that might mean some complications if they have not been checked first before being turned on. The leading factor for fire by any heater is that it has not been cleaned. That could be a chimney having creosote build-up, a potable space heater that has something combustible inside of it or anything else around the home. Checking any equipment before turning it on is extremely important especially when it comes to heating equipment in your home.
For more information on Fire Prevention Week and other safety tips, check out the National Fire Prevention Associations website below.