Fire Safety Tips
by Jake Lohser
- Install smoke alarms on each level of a home, as well as inside every bedroom and just outside of sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms at least once each month.
- Make a fire escape plan, discuss it with each family member, and practice evacuating your home twice each year.
- If a fire breaks out in a home, get out of the house, don't go back for any reason, and call the fire department.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
Preparing and Preventing a Home Fire
- Always monitor and supervise cooking in the kitchen. Kitchen fires are the most prevalent type of fire in the home.
- Use heating devices carefully to prevent accidents. Supervision of these devices is usually required for safety.
- Wiring incidents such as sparking and arcing can cause home fires. Installing arc fault circuit interrupters can provide fire protection in the home.
- Use care with electrical items in the home. Do not place cords under rugs, and do not use damaged cords.
- Don't use extension cords to overload outlets and electrical circuits, because this is a fire hazard.
- Replace smoke alarms every 10 years to ensure they remain in proper working order.
- Smoke alarms should have some type of certification of independent testing, such as a label from the Underwriters' Laboratories.
- For full fire protection, install smoke alarms that utilize ionization technology and photoelectric detection technology.
- Install smoke alarms on the ceiling or on the upper wall, away from forced air registers.
- Use a vacuum cleaner brush attachment to clean a smoke alarm when you change the batteries.
Home Fire Escape Plans
- Draw a full map of your home that includes all doors and windows. Talk about all escape options with your family so everyone is familiar with the options.
- Every family member should know at least two ways to get out of every room in the home.
- Make special provisions for any family members, such as children or the elderly, who will need help escaping a home fire.
- In a home fire, the rooms will usually fill with smoke. The smoke reduces visibility and can also cause people to become disoriented, which could lead people to become lost or trapped in their home. This is why home escape plans are so important.
- Choose a meeting place for the family to gather after escaping a home fire so you can make sure that everyone is safe.
- Clear the area around the stove to make sure that flammable items such as potholders and towels do not catch on fire.
- If you decide to fight a kitchen fire, have others leave the house and clear an escape route for yourself.
- Keep surfaces clean in the kitchen, because accumulation of grease can be a fire hazard.
- If a fire happens inside the oven, turn it off and keep the door closed.
- Remove loose clothing or keep it contained while cooking, because these items can catch on fire.
- Don't try to rush the cooking process by cooking foods at higher temperatures. Exceeding recommended cooking temperature can be a fire hazard.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
- Carbon monoxide can accumulate in a home, and it can be lethal if inhaled in high concentrations.
- Carbon monoxide has no odor or color, so it can be present in the air without you realizing it is there.
- Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and chest pain.
- Furnaces and fireplaces can be a source of dangerous carbon monoxide that can accumulate indoors.
- Because you can't smell or see carbon monoxide, you must install carbon monoxide detectors in your home to keep your family safe.
Miscellaneous Fire Safety Tips
- If you are evacuating a home in a fire, always feel a door before you open it. If the door is warm, do not open it.
- Take only items that are easily accessible in a fire. Don't spend time trying to retrieve other items.
- Teach children never to play with lighters and matches, and keep these items out of reach.
- Never leave candles unattended. If you leave a room, blow out a candle before you exit.
- When evacuating a fire, close doors behind you. This may help contain the fire.
- Fire Safety Awareness - Follow general safety precautions to prevent and respond to fires to enhance everyone's safety.
- Fire Safety Tips - Fire safety tips such as crawling through a room instead of walking through it can help you escape a fire safely.
- Cooking Safely (PDF) - Use safe cooking procedures to prevent kitchen fires, such as never pouring water onto a grease fire.
- Winter Fire Safety Facts and Tips (PDF) - Winter can be a dangerous time for house fires because of the use of furnaces and fireplaces.
- What to Do in Case of a Fire - Follow basic guidelines in Cleveland homes and real estate for fire prevention and safety.