Fire is the sixth leading cause of unintentional injury-related death over all ages. Often fires start at night, when family members are asleep. A working smoke alarm will cut the chances of dying in a fire in half and they are a family’s first indication of a fire. But once that alarm sounds a fire can spread quickly, leaving only a minute or two to escape, according to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). That’s why it’s so important to have an escape plan and practice it using different ways out of the house.
Over the past several decades, deaths from home structure fires in the United States have steadily gone down considerably. But even one death from a preventable fire is too many. While fire doesn’t discriminate by age, it is the third leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14. Children die from fire and smoke inhalation and this can be prevented when proper measures are taken.
The U.S. Fire Administration offers these additional tips to keep children safe from fire and burns:
- Keep children 3 feet away from anything hot, like candles, space heaters and stove-tops
- Keep smoking materials locked up in a high place; never leave cigarette lighters or matches where children can reach them
- Never play with lighters or matches when you are with your children; they may try to imitate you
Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and fire injuries, followed by heating equipment, according to NFPA. Other causes include smoking, electrical problems, children playing with fire and candles.
What You Can Do
NSC (National Safety Council) provides the following tips to keep your home safe from fire:
- Install both types of smoke alarms (ionization and photoelectric) and carbon monoxide alarms; change the batteries at least once a year in these devices
- Plan – and practice – an escape route and agree on a meeting place outside of your home; be prepared to assist young children, family members with special needs and pets
- Always have two ways out of every room in the home
- Learn how to use your fire extinguisher
- If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll
- When evacuating, if door handles are hot, pick an alternate route
- Leave your house and call for help; do not go back to help someone else
Note: Take care of your smoke alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Below are some general maintenance tips.
- Replace the batteries at least once every year.
- Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years
Schedule a time for one of our highly skilled electricians in fire prevention to come to your home to check your smoke detectors and help you put your fire safety plan together.