In 2015 the U.S. Fire Administration estimated that there were 380,900 residential fires. Out of those, they estimated that about 1,800 resulted in fatalities and 7,500 in injuries.
About half of all home fires are caused from cooking, one in ten from heating and one in twenty from electrical malfunction. How can you protect yourself, and what should you do if there is a fire in your home?
When cooking, you need to keep track of what is going on, you don’t want to cook when tired or on any type of medication that makes you drowsy. You should also be prepared to put out any fire that might start in your kitchen. A grease fire should never be put out with water, it will only make things worse. Instead cover the pot with a lid or some other non-flammable object. You could also pour a large amount of baking soda to extinguish the fire.
Make sure your electrical system is up to code, and don’t overload your outlets by daisy chaining power strips or running several high-voltage appliances from a single outlet.
Have fire alarms positioned throughout the house, make sure you replace batteries as soon as the low level indicator is triggered.
When using lit candles, never leave them unattended, especially in the presence of children or pets. When going to bed, make sure that you extinguish any candles you used.
Never use a barbeque grill or any similar open flame device indoors. Besides the risk of fire, without proper ventilation you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you need to use electric blankets, be aware they are a major fire hazard. Always follow the instructions, and regularly check that they are in good condition.
If you have a fireplace, keep your chimney clean and clear from debris.
If a Fire Breaks Out
Your family needs to have a plan in place that takes into account the abilities of every member of the family. This is especially important if you have young children or seniors in your house. Make sure that you have drills so everyone knows how to act when there is a fire.
Don’t ever ignore your fire alarm. Don’t expect someone else to check on the reason why the alarm is going off. There is a possibility that the fire might be in another room of the house and the other members of your family have passed out from the fumes.
Stop drop and roll. We have all heard that expression so many times, but it is easy to forget when you are in an emergency situation and catch fire. Running around while on fire will most likely just make the situation worse by spreading the flames.
Call 911 as soon as a fire starts that cannot be easily contained. You might think that you can handle the situation, but this is definitely a case where it is better to be safe than sorry. Professional Fire-fighters have training to deal with fires, and they can help minimize the loss of property and life.