A Comprehensive Guide to Residential Fire Safety
House fires are one of the common emergencies experienced by Canadians in their home. Time is of the essence in such incidents as a small fire can become life-threatening in just two minutes. The sad fact is that it is completely preventable.
You can keep yourself and your loved ones safe with just a little residential-fire safety preparation. Pacific Coast Fire Equipment has been devoted to protecting people and properties from such accidents for over the past 70 years.
Shocking Statistics about Home Fires
Data from a study of home-fires, by public safety division of Alberta Municipal Affairs, states some shocking facts:
- 30 per cent of all fires involved homes and 67 per cent of fire deaths happened in homes.
- Cooking is the leading cause of home-fires
- Smoking is the major cause of home fire deaths
Fire: Fast Facts
- Fire produces a lot of heat very quickly. Temperatures in a burning room can be 100 degrees to 600 degrees. When you inhale such hot air, your internal organs get scorched within moments.
- Initially, the fire appears as bright yellow-orange, but very quickly it turns into black smoke and darkness.
- Fire spreads quickly and fills the house with smoke.
- Inhaling the smoke is life-threatening. It contains toxic gases which cause disorientation and drowsiness. Asphyxiation is a leading cause of fire deaths.
Five Tips for Preventing a Residential Fire
Safety measures at home begin with you. Being aware is just not enough; take proper preventive action. Save your family from the trouble of dealing with fire and a firefighter from risking their life while saving your burning residence. Take residential fire safety precautions by following the below-mentioned safety tips:
1. Install Smoke Detectors Throughout the Home
The first step towards protecting your residence is to install fire alarms and smoke detectors throughout the home. Install it at every floor and close to all bedrooms. Generally, home detectors are included in home security systems. Test them once every month to verify that they are functioning. Replace the batteries once in a year. Do not disable any smoke detectors while cooking, as it can potentially result in a tragedy.
2. Install Fire Extinguishers
After smoke detectors, make sure you have fire extinguishers readily available throughout your home. It will be helpful in case you experience a small fire. Place the extinguishers in the kitchen, garage and workshops if you have one. Similar to detectors, you should check whether the extinguishers are working properly every month.
Contact your local fire department to learn about how to use a fire extinguisher (link to other blog post). You should be aware of the maintenance procedures.
3. Learn the Common Causes of Fire at Home
For successful prevention strategies, everyone should be aware of the various possible causes of fires at homes:
• Smoking – Smoking indoor is never a good idea. Take an extra step and smoke in your balcony or backyard. Make sure the embers are completely out in the ashtray or run under water.
• Cooking – Unattended cooking pans are the major cause of home fires. You should be cautious about cooking oils, fryers and microwaves. After you have completed cooking, ensure the stove or the oven is switched off before leaving the kitchen. Hot items should be kept away from loose clothing, dish towels and other flammable items.
• Fireplaces – If you use a fireplace regularly at home, make sure they are functioning properly. Never leave them on and go out or to bed. Use a fireplace screen which covers the entire opening, to prevent flying sparks and rolling logs.
• Flammable liquids – Cleaning agents, paints, gasoline and adhesives are highly flammable. They can start a fire with high temperatures or with small sparks of static electricity. So always store flammable liquids away from any heat source. Store them in a ventilated and cool area.
• Clothing dryers – Lint can easily catch fire and so avoid build-up of lint in the appliance. If the air exhaust pipe of the dryer is blocked, it can interfere with the safe and efficient working. Also, never overload it or operate it overnight. Clear the lint filter before each cycle.
• Portable space heaters – They are really handy to keep a particular room warm. But they are one of the major causes of house fires. Use them responsibly and keep flammable items at least three feet away from it. They should be kept on a stable surface and should not be left unattended.
4. Teach Kids About the Dangers of Fire
If you have kids at home, teach them about the possible hazards of fire. They are naturally curious, and it can lead to a dangerous accident. A numbers of cases are reported where the fire was set by children under five years of age.
- Educate your child about the causes, consequences and what to do in an emergency situation.
- Take your child to the fire house to meet a firefighter.
- Teach them to never hide under the bed or in the closet.
- Tell them to crawl on their knees to the nearest exit if they see smoke.
5. Create a Plan for Escape with your family
Have a well-thought, organized fire-safety plan. During a fire, the last thing you would want to do is to plan the escape route. Develop it in advance, so you can act instantly without wasting any time.
Discuss the plan in detail with all your family members. Everyone should be on the same page when a fire takes place. Plan to STOP, DROP, and ROLL, if the clothes catch on fire. There should be at least two escape routes from every bedroom. Everyone should be aware of checking doors for heat before opening them, about the importance of staying low on the ground for avoiding smoke and knowing the closest way out. Such small things can play significant roles in saving lives during a blaze.
In addition to having a plan, you should practice it regularly. It serves a good reminder for all family members.
It is also crucial to make sure everything involved in fire escape plan is in working order at home. For example, windows or screens shouldn’t be jammed or the security bars can be opened properly.
You might overlook the residential fire safety measures if you are busy or stressed out. But remember, you can never be too safe when it comes to fire protection. By taking necessary actions, you will not only save a ton of hassles and your precious belongings but also your loved ones!