October is Fire Prevention Month – a good time to revisit your family’s fire safety plans.
You have a greater chance of dying in a house fire in 2018 than you did more than 30 years ago, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This deadly trend is behind the NFPA’s theme for Fire Prevention Week and Month 2018, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere.”
Four out of every five out of five fire deaths in the U.S. occur in a residential dwelling. According to the NFPA, the fire death rate of home fires reported to a fire department was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980.
“People take safety for granted and are not aware of the risk of fire,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Paying attention to your surroundings, looking for available exits in the event of a fire or other emergency, and taking the smoke alarm seriously if it sounds can make a potentially life-saving difference in a fire or other emergency situation.”
The NFPA’s message this year is simple, but strategic. Reduce the risk of fire and be prepared if one occurs.
- Look for places fire can start. Check your home to identify fire hazards, then eliminate them.
- Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. Make sure your family knows what to do if the smoke alarm sounds. Have a family fire evacuation plan in place establish a safe, outside meeting place and practice!
- Learn two ways out of each room, whether it be a door or window, and keep pathways clear and free of impediments.
While the NFPA strives to educate the public on overall fire safety, this year the focus is on home fire safety as most fire deaths in the U.S. occur at home. While young children and the elderly are at the most risk, fire safety education is for everyone.
Look for fire hazards, starting in the kitchen. Cooking is the number one cause of home fires. Prevent a kitchen fire by staying in the kitchen while cooking, or turning off the burner or oven if you must leave. Turn pot handles so they won’t be bumped and keep anything that could catch on fire away from the stove.
Home heating is the second leading cause of house fires. Perform routine maintenance on your furnace and chimney and make sure repairs are completed before the outside temperature drops. If you use a fireplace or space heater, make sure nothing flammable is closer than three feet and shut it down before going to bed. Also, don’t use extension cords on heat producing appliances, such as space heaters or hairdryers. Replace any electrical cords that are frayed or broken.
Listen – smoke detectors save lives. Place smoke detectors on each floor, including the basement, and in each bedroom or sleeping area. Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year and test all smoke detectors monthly.
Learn your family’s escape plan and practice. Statistically, the majority of house fires occur between the hours of 11pm and 7am You have a mere two to three minutes to get out of your home to safety when a smoke alarm goes off. Having a plan in place when the smoke alarm jolts you out of a sound sleep can mean the difference between life and death. Map out your home, make sure windows open easily and make sure everyone has two ways out, whether it be a door or a window. .
The U.S. Fire Administration has put out a fire safety checklist for homeowners to makes it easy to identify fire hazards.
Remember, keeping yourself and your family safe in the event of a fire is up to you.
Contact Delco Alarm Systems , 610-494-9100, for additional information on the latest residential fire prevention systems.