Only you can prevent home fires, having a working smoke alarm, an escape plan and knowing what to do will increase your chances or survival.
According to the Red Cross you may have as little as two minutes to escape
Home fires are the most common type of emergency in the United States, and can cause deaths, injuries and property loss within minutes of breaking out. Home fires occur every day across the country but we can take action to prepare. Prepare now to protect yourself, your loved ones and your home.
The Red Cross recommends you take the following Precautions to Prevent Home Fires
Cooking Safety Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries.
Stay in the kitchen and closely monitor your meal anytime you are cooking. Keep an eye on what you fry!
Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stove.
Install and learn how to use a fire extinguisher. Contact your local fire department for training.
If you have a small cooking fire:
On a stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
If in doubt, just get out! If flames spread to objects beyond the stove or oven, evacuate immediately. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from outside the home.
Preventing Heating Equipment Fires
Each year heating Equipment caused an average of 50,100 fires in residential buildings in the United States and caused 150 deaths, 575 injuries, and $326 million in property loss.
Heating was the second leading cause of all residential building fires following cooking fires.
While space heaters can help keep room temperatures they are they can also be dangerous. Space heaters should never be left unattended or used within three feet of any combustibles and should always be plugged directly into an outlet. Make sure you:
Use extreme caution around heating equipment such as space heaters and fireplaces.
Keep anything that could catch fire at least 3 feet from the heat.
Make sure there is a fire alarm on the room where the heater will be used
Use a Surge Protector to prevent your Heater from producing an Electrical Fire Hazard. Do not connect more than one heater in the same Room or your Electrical wiring might overheat and cause an Electrical Fire Hazard.
Preventing Electrical Fires
Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances. Other fires are started by faults in appliance cords, receptacles and switches.
Use caution with all electrical equipment, especially equipment with moving parts and that use high voltages like vacuums, microwaves, hair and clothes irons, etc.
Always plug appliances directly into wall outlets. Extension cords are for short-term use. Use a UPS or Surge Protector where recommended by your device manufacturer.
Inspect power cords. Make sure they are not across doorways or under carpets where they might get pinched or wear out. Make sure there is no visible damage to the cord or exposed wires
Have all electrical work done by a certified electrician.
A fire extinguisher is an ideal way to douse an electrical fire, and OSHA suggests having a working fire extinguisher on every floor of the home in the event of an emergency.
Common causes of electrical fires in the home:
Faulty electrical outlets and aging appliances
Using ungrounded plugs
Overloading light fixtures
Placing flammable material near light fixtures
Extension cord misuse
Electrical Circuit Overload
Make sure you Install and maintain smoke alarms
A well installed and functioning smoke alarms could save your life
Make sure that you or a professional install smoke alarms in your home
Maintain and test your smoke alarms regularly
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
Listen to the beeps or flashing lights on your smoke alarm, it might indicate the battery needs to be replaced.
Do not use cheap batteries for smoke equipment, they will not last and could damage the equipment.
Make sure your family know your smoke alarm sounds and what to do when they hear the sound.
Most smoke alarms, regardless of power source, are effective for 10 years. Replace all smoke alarms once they reach this age
How To Prevent A Home Fire | American Red Cross
Make and practice a home fire escape plan with your household so that everyone knows what to do and can escape in less than two minutes. When you practice your escape plan take note of what did not work and fix it as soon as possible.
A good escape plan should have the following:
Two paths to the outside from every room. The first path will often be a doorway. The second path may be a window or a second doorway. You need two paths in case your first path is blocked by smoke or flames.
Escape paths should be clear and not blocked by clutter, furniture or equipment.
A safe meeting place where everyone will go after they have escaped the fire so that you know everyone is safe.
Have an emergency lather in case you need to escape from a window on a second floor
If possible have an Emergency Bag with copy of important documents and a first aid kit near your Escape Route Exit
Make sure everyone knows NEVER to go back into a burning building
Call 911 once you are Safe and alert your neighbors if possible
No plan or training can guarantee your safety but following the recommended steps will increase your change of getting out safety and hopefully might event prevent it from happening.